This short study tries to deal with the topic of foreigners seen from the perspective of communist policemen employed in (Sbor národní bezpečnosti – SNB), which was the only offi cial body uniting a public guarding police (Veřejná bezpečnost – VB), a criminal police and also a secret police (Státní bezpečnost – StB) in Czechoslovakia before 1989. Based on the analysis of twelve oral history interviews with ex-SNB members of basic and middle ground of SNB hierarchy,
author is attempting to conclude the most visible patterns of individual and collective memory and the “image countours” of foreigners (as non-Czechoslovak citizens) and their countries (especially Eastern and Western ones) connected with pre-1989 period. Last but not least he tries to compare the fi nal outputs of “sample” analysis and interpretations with other socio-professional groups of Czech/Czechoslovak society (which were also researched through oral history perspective during of two oral history projects realized between years 2006 and 2013) and to formulate some general remarks.
Political participation of immigrants (expressed for example by their participation in elections, representation in political parties or in the leadership functions of a city) is now seen as one of the key elements supporting their integration into the major society. In France was already in 1983 founded civil association called Votation citoyenne (Civil vote), but despite more than 30 years of its campaigns and diligent work, the results obtained are rather vague. So far, the law that would give to the foreigners from the countries outside of the EU the right to vote and to be elected at least in the local elections was only approved but did not enter into the force. Temporary solution of this situation stands therefore in active attitude of local governments, from whom the town hall of big Paris and the city of Hérouville-Saint-Clair in the region of Basse-Normandie were the most active. In terms of their political participation, expressed by the share of representatives with probable immigrant background in the total number of elected representatives in municipalities with more than 9,000 inhabitants, the immigrants from non-European countries were better involved in the life of majority in Paris than in the region of Basse-Normandie. However, between the years 2001 and 2008, this form of their participation in political life had bigger dynamics in the region of Basse-Normandie than in the region of Paris.
The study focuses in particular to the institutional development of Czechoslovak ethnography in the period between the end of the World War II and the year 1953. The establishing of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in the years 1951/1952–1953 made an impact upon many scientifi c disciplines. Ethnography belonged to the 6th section, but for a long time it had been nclear how the State Institute for Folk Song, whose tradition reached to the year 1905, and the newly established Cabinet for Ethnography were to be connected. The present study tries to capture this eff ort for preserving the independent study of folklore, even though in close connection with ethnographic research, as well as the problem of the institutional embedding, that is, the gradual hiring of scientifi c workers, the composition of scientifi c committee and the editorial boards of important periodicals. The establishing of the Academy of Sciences and the inclusion of the Cabinet for Ethnography and Cabinet for Folk Song into this institutions opened new possibilities for the development of ethnography and folklore studies, in spite of its ideologically decided shape. The research moved from the representative societies with limited budgets that did not allow for positions of scientifi c workers to two specialized cabinets and later to scientifi c institute under the auspices of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences.
The so-called ontological turn, drawing largely on Viveiros de Castro’s notion of Amazonian perspectivism, has attracted considerable attention in contemporary anthropology. The proponents of ontological relativism were indeed submitted to strong criticism focusing, among other things, on the questions of obscurity, solipsism or meta-ontology. In the theoretical section of the study, I present selected themes of this approach, its merits, but also its diffi culties that I try to overcome by means of present-day phenomenological anthropology. The key question – in which are the examined otherness and its apprehending grounded? – I attempt to answer through the concepts of the everyday experience and the lifeworld. In the empirical section of the study, I illustrate the theory with the ethnography of Maya perception of crosses, mountains and caves, which are considered to be living and acting beings. Then, I situate Maya cosmology into lived experience of both natural and social world, intov an ongoing human engagement with the land and with the beings that dwell therein. Special attention is devoted to the phenomenal and existential aspects of the mountains and their importance, which is based not only on their representations, but also on the mountains as such.
A notion of trauma has its roots in psychiatry and medicine where it was theorized at the level of individual. Particularly, in the course of the last decade the concept has established itself extensively as an instrument for analysis of broader social phenomena. Trauma at the collective level is described in variety ways – as cultural, social, collective or national, if most common descriptions mentioned. The prevalent line of thinking regarding the trauma at the collective level involves constructivist approach taking trauma as socially produced construct.
In spite of the fact that the pretext for trauma usually involves an event perceived as disrupting the bases of social life and threatening the core values and norms, the trauma itself is rather an outcome of constructive sociocultural process in which several social groups take part. The process involves creation of meanings and attribution of symbolic sense to certain event. The process is signifi cantly associated with construction of common identity and collective memory of the given society. By creating suffi ciently convincing, strong and appealing cultural narratives, a given event starts to be perceived as a trauma and fi nally becomes trauma per se.