Principal researcher: Ivan Lozica
Researchers and associates: Zoran Čiča, Joško Ćaleta, Vilko Endstrasser, Marijana Hameršak, Suzana Marjanić, Ljiljana Marks, Grozdana Marošević, Nataša Polgar

In the age of transition and globalization, the issue of cultural identity in the Europe and in the world has become the focus of discussions and examinations, both in humanities and in the everyday life. The past was rightfully evoked and history reevaluated during the establishment of the Croatian state and in the Croatian war for Independence during the 1990s. At times sight was lost of the fact that the past was in the past and that history was discursive. Going back to the roots so as to construct a national identity has rekindled interest in the folklore and traditional culture, but has also (under the influence of the public opinion and the media) restored the 19th century concept of folklore and traditional culture as surviving elements of the national past. When faced with similar problems, similar cures are used: the national treasure chest from the period of the formation of European national states has once again been opened in the post-socialist transition. In social sciences this process is known as retraditionalization (cf. Heelas & Morris 1996), frequently interpreted as a reaction to detraditionalization carried out in socialism. Analogous processes have been taking place in postcolonial and Islamic societies – as well as in Japan, the USA and Europe. We would like to tackle the issue of retraditionalization by examining tradition as a key element of the cultural identity and as a basic determinant of our discipline. For us, ethnology has long ceased to be a historical science, and we do not want to consider folklore studies and ethnomusicology as mere collection of material dwelling on the past. Our main hypothesis is that tradition is a continuing (historical and ongoing) process of multi-level interpretation of repetitive procedures and symbols in the human community, rather than an inherited collection of indisputable facts, spiritual values and material objects. Building on the existing research of everyday life, traditional culture and folklore conducted at the Institute, we will examine the interaction of the processes of tradition and retraditionalization in the formation of multiple aspects of the cultural identity. With no pretensions of comprehensiveness, we will study the interpretative levels of tradition in the following segments: FOLKLORISTIC, LITERARY ANTHROPOLOGICAL, MYTHOLOGICAL, ETHNOMUSICOLOGICAL, ETHNOTHEATROLOGICAL, CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL THEORETICAL.

The FOLKLORISTIC segment will include publishing a review article on Croatian folklore in the world encyclopedia of folklore (Greenwood Publishers), a collection of papers entitled “Folkloristički spisi” [“Papers in Folklore Studies”], a monograph entitled “Povijest i pripovijest” [“History and Story”]; the lexicon of mythical beings in Croatian oral legends (“Vilinski rječnik” [“The Fairy Dictionary”]) will be completed and published, a book on urban stories and a collection of older studies on mythical creatures will also be published; in the LITERARY ANTHROPOLOGICAL segment the doctoral dissertation dealing with the formation of childhood and transformations of fairy tales in Croatian children’s literature will be defended. We will publish a meta-theoretical article about the sources of ethnographies of reading; a study of examples of age-specific readers; papers on generic and representational strategies of Croatian realistic narrative prose, and studies on folklore genres in the context of prose narrative; in the MYTHOLOGICAL segment we will publish a monograph entitled “Mitsko u usmenoknjiževnom – tragom Nodilove re/kontrukcije ‘stare vjere’ Srba i Hrvata [Mythical in oral literature – tracing Nodilo’s re/construction of the ‘old faith’ of Serbs and Croats] and numerous papers; in the ETHNOMUSICOLOGICAL segment we will publish works about songs from Međimurje (međimurske popevke), fiddlers (guci) from Pokupje, the rozganje singing style, traveling and street players, Carnival music and about historical recordings of traditional music, we will also issue several CDs, and will publish proceedings of the 4th Croatian ethnomusicological conference held in Roč; in the ETHNOTHEATROLOGICAL segment we will publish a monograph on the history of performance art in Croatia (in cooperation with the project “Discursive identities in performing arts”, within the same program) and an illustrated dictionary of traditional masks in Croatia; in the CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL segment we are planning two articles as a result of systematic research of the issues relating to confessional religious education in schools. Finally, in the CULTURAL THEORETICAL segment we will publish a monograph entitled “Mišljenje tradicije” [Rethinking Tradition], which will examine the basic hypothesis of the project with regard to ongoing theoretical and philosophical discussions of the notions of tradition and retraditionalization. All of the segments have been planned as interdisciplinary.