Ethnography of Contemporary Everyday Life and Processes of Identification

Principal researcher: Jasna Capo Zmegac
Researchers and associates: Valentina Gulin Zrnic, Sanja Puljar D’Alessio, Goran Pavel Santek, Iva Plese, Daphne Winland, Amy Mountcastle, Maja Povrzanovic Frykman

The aim of this project is to study certain aspects of the contemporary culture of everyday life and the processes of identification both in Croatia and in the Croatian diaspora, taking into consideration the transnational phenomena of modernity. By using specific anthropological methods and ethnographic materials, the project proposes research into the process of identification (a) in the field of migrations and diaspora; (b) in urban agglomerations; (c) with the help of the electronic media (the Internet, television), and (d) within the realm of a religious community.

The basic hypothesis of the research is that certain cultural patterns are recognizable in contemporary culture, in the “culturally familiar” world we live in and contribute to every day. These patterns are created as a result of the creative interweaving og the global and the local, that is, of the national anf the international, which results in hybrid cultural forms and identities. The project is placed within the domain of the semantics of culture, symbolic identification and meanings which participants themselves ascribe to certain phenomena of life. By putting stress on the fluidity and changeability of identity, this term is, for the purpose of this project, replaced with a more dynamic syntagm “the construction of identity” or with the term “identification”. With its various aspects and innovative approach, this project has a manifold meaning for the development of Croatian ethnology. It introduces some research topics into our science (research into electronic media and religious community), that is, it uses a new approach to the study of migration and diaspora, and the urban agglomeration. Since the research is placed within the domain of the symbolic interpretations and the analyses of the subjective world of the people, that is, the image of the self, of the others and of the cultural world they created, it will use qualitative methods of ethnographic fieldwork research, which enable in-depth and individualized research of the cultural phenomena. The emic and the etic, the local and the global (abstract) knowledge will be combined and fruitfully complement each other in interpretations. The procedure which will be used is close to the ethnography of the particular and reflexive ethnography.

Expected results: three Ph.D theses, a master thesis, a book and several studies.