Ermis Lafazanovski. Skopje

The ethnization of culture - as Konrad Kostlin said - is the ethnic paradigm of the turn of the centuries. He said: "At the end of the 19th century the ethnization of culture led to the instrumentalization of the discipline. It was also a topic in the discussions about art criticism regarding "national styles". At the end of the twentieth century the ethnization of culture has taken unexpected importance, extending from regional and nationalistic movements and radicalism to the political use of "ethnic cleansing". This aspect is also connected to aesthetic and symbolic dimension of ethnically defined culture" (Kostlin 1994).

As we can see this statement represents an attempt to fundamentalize the notion of culture and identity of ethnic culture in condition of ethnically defined culture, expansionistic ethnocentrism, nationalism and instrumentalization of ethnical cultural expressions and symbols at the end of centuries, which is obviously the situation at the end of the 20th century too. The paradigm "ethnization of culture" shows the negative tension and interactions among members of different groups (ethnic conflicts) in one cultural context, where the ethnic defined groups are confronted to each other.

The phrase "ethnization of culture" could be replaced with the phrase "folklorization of culture" which is the recent characterization of cultures in eastern European countries. The question which arises is: what is the relationship between "folklorization of culture", which is the topic of contemporary cultures i.e. manifestation of the irrational "love for folklore" i.e. Folklove, and traditional genuine folklore. It is a question which could be answered with the theoretical tools of Folklorism or Fakelore (Dorson 1969) approach to the problem, but in the East European countries this approach attaches a negative connotation to the problem of contemporary state of folklore.

The term Folklove is the contemporary situation in contemporary folk culture and has a more optimistical connotation than Folklorism or Fakelore. It is a way for escaping from cultural dismembering or disintegration. It is a cluster in the network of searching for identity, it is just a rescue, salvation from the crisis of mass culture. Crisis and salvation of mass culture with the traditional. Searching for local heroes may be the sign of individual or collective crisis.

As Lauri Honko stressed, culture may be viewed as system of elements constituted through the selection, interpretation an internaliza-tion of tradition by individuals and groups (Honko 1988,131). His definition of tradition is that tradition primarily refers to materials only, to an unsystematic array of cultural elements that have been made available to a particular social group in different times and contexts. Tradition would thus look like a store only some parts of which are in use at any given time. The other parts are simply waiting to be activated, stored in museums, archives and libraries or in the case of oral tradition, in the library of the human mind, always in the danger of passing into oblivion because of the lack of function (Honko 1988, 133).

It is obvious that the authority of selected tradition is used to glorificate the ethnocentric consciousness and self-values in relation with another culture and another identity. The uses of folklore symbols and models and their instrumentalization are often the most charged elements in the contemporary dismembering of culture. But generally each culture has a distorted consciousness of self in relation with other cultures.

It is a problem of searching authenticity but with the ancient and forgotten denotations: authenteo (to have full power over, also to commit a murder); authentes (not only a master and doer, but also a preparator, a murderer, even a selfmurderer, a suicide). From this philosophical point of view searching for authenticity is a suicide, because, as Trilling said, "Civilization is of its nature so inauthentic that personal integrity can be wrested from it only by the inversion of all its avowed principles" (Trilling 1972, 110). But from the real point of view inversion is made with tradition vis-a-vis contemporary modem culture: with Folklove.

It is obvious that the reason for activating only some parts of stored tradition depends on the current need for identity. The parts which are extended from traditional libraries are compatible with the part of national identity which has to be stressed. In such circumstances we have the following situation: traditional culture / national culture and folklore culture / contemporary culture. Because the modem culture suffer from acculturation (Herskovits 1958), it is a process of culturation of acculturation made by western mass media with the authentic traditional culture. It is a process of salvation of the local mass culture from the acculturation.

It is not only the traditional culture involved in this search but also the "Invented tradition" (Hobsbawn 1983). But this invention is not only crude invention, it is more than that - it is a love for tradition. Invention of tradition is invention of folklore too, and invention of folklore is nothing else but Folklove. Fakelore is also Folklove. Folklove is the way to identity.

Over the last five decades Macedonian life has been determined by the political paradigm of socialism in which the awareness of the folk tradition was insufficient and distorted. The popular culture in Macedonia in the last forty years has been submitted to various pressures. Macedonian folklore and ethnology did not study this domain of popular culture because of various reasons, such as political pressure, lack of theoretical interests, and conceptions concerning the influence of church and religion on the popular culture. This period was also marked by new contemporary customs, like various celebrations of revolutionary anniversaries and battles in the war, the ceremony surrounding Youth Day, city holidays, enterprise holidays. Women's Day and so on, and in connection with these - performances by folk groups were well perceived. Increasing political decentralization showed a tendency to spark national folklore symbols once more. National flags on the wedding celebration are a normal phenomenon in contemporary folk life and in folklore presentation on stage as well. Simultaneously, increasing demands for a market orientation in the economy encourage the commercialization and instrumentalization of folklore in entertainment (newly composed folk music). Instrumentalization of folklore is nothing else but salvation of mass culture from acculturation.

As we can see, we are facing different kinds of Folklove but they have always been Folklove, be it in the prewar period, during the war or after. They are only different kinds of folk manifestation, but they are Folklove.

Honko once wrote that natural identities are there in the field only to be detected and described by scholars, whereas a constructed identity represents mostly questionable manipulation close to forgery.

If we take the folklore as part of cultural identity, we could say that invention of folklore is manipulation. But we could also say that it is not manipulation - it is Folklove.

In search for local heroes who will save the local culture Folklove grasps the traditional narrative culture. Among the most important traditional narratives in such direction are the traditional legends. In Macedonian culture the authority of legends gives the people their sense of historical belonging to the identity group.

I will keep the attention now on a specific form of authority of legends and historical traditions over the culture identity in Macedonia (Danforth 1993) as manifestation of salvation the local mass culture.

The oral traditions and legends have authenticity and authority for bringing back the history and heritage values which means that they bring back the cultural and historical heroes too.

The authority of genuine oral traditions and legends is most explored thorough oral narratives in establishing authenticity of Macedonian culture and in construction of a new identity, built under political circumstances. In the contemporary construction of national and cultural identity it is obviously the function of these historical traditions and legends to show the values and genuine of Macedonian cultural heritage.

Legends and historical oral traditions are among the oldest genres of Macedonian folk literature. They are a separate genre - by their content and their themes, with their own developmental processes. They are an artistic blend of real historical data and poetic imagination.

Characteristic of oral traditions are historization (the relating of the action to some historical event or person) and localization (making a connection between the setting of the tale and some definite real territory).

Macedonian legends and traditions are characteristically full of archaism, since the narrator has frequently forgotten the exact circumstances under which his story took place, if he ever knew them, so that names of characters and places may often be confused, a phenomenon, known as contamination.

Historical traditions may be further divided into tradition concerning historical persons and those of historical events. They are the result of supplementary, imaginative material being added to recollections of a real, concrete event or person. The events preserved in traditions are those which left a deep impression on the common people, and the characters immortalized in them those who were important in defending or liberation of their fellow men. Such traditions are created and preserved because of strong sense of curiosity about the past.

Historical traditions contain not only the relevant facts about the event or character about which they were composed but also popular interpretation - collective rather than individual. In tradition of historical personages, the heroes are highly idealized and legendary in character.

Macedonian historical traditions date primarily from the fourteenth century onwards, the time of the Turkish occupation. Many of them deal with the occupation itself, the history of the Balkan Slavs, and the last of the decisive battles against the Turkish conquerors. Part of the historical traditions concerning historical personages are integrally related to traditions about historical events, such as those dealing with Alexander the Great, Marko Krali. Even these characters are typical not only for the Macedonian oral narratives but also those of other nations sharing the Balkan area, like Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks and Turks. Some of these oral traditions and legends as well as others about prominent characters in local Macedonian history (such as Kliment and Naum) show that this genre existed even before the arrival of the Turks in Macedonia. (Sazdov 1987)

Obviously their authority helps to bring the authority of contemporary tradition among the people who identify themselves with the history. The problem of identification has weighty consequences on building the identity. It seems that identity consciousness has to contain the identification with the past on both levels: collective and individual. Collectives and individuals must feel themselves like descendants of a historical past and part of an authentic tradition. For that purpose the authority of historical traditions and legends preserves strong identification with the past.

In the era of conflicting identities the problem is that in the multicultural states each of ethnic groups, identifies himself with his own ethnocentric historical and cultural background. Maybe the most accentuated reason which generates conflicts in and between different ethnic minorities, in ethnically under-represented cultures, is that there is no identification on the high society level.

The items which determine the narrative world (social life, personality and existence of narrative figures), determinate also the culture-logical systems, such as traditions. Narrative tradition consists of social life, personality and existence of the narrators and narrative figures. As we see, the more authentic are the narrative figures (in, 1975. Hartman, A. 1991: Über die Kulturanalyse des Diskurses. Zeitschrift our case Marko Krali and Alexander the Great) the greater the authority and authenticity of narrative tradition will be. The more the narrative tradition has authority and authenticity based on the authentic social life, personality and existence of the narrators and their narratives, the more authentic the cultural identity will be. Based on the authentic cultural identity, the national identity poses his own authority from narrative figures, through narration, narrator, narrative tradition, cultural identity, and national identity.

As we see above and according to the previous regardings of role of the symbols and models, first of all the authorities of states select the authentic folklore manifestations according to the authenticity of their social and personal life and existence and bring them in front of cultural evens like bearers of authentic and archaic cultural and existential power.! Tradition true Folklove is ready to fight with acculturation.

In Macedonian case the authentic historical narratives about Alexander the Great and Marko Krali collected from the authentic narrators from the field have made them into the heroes of our time and the bearer of Macedonian disobedient soul in the frame ofinauthentic world and existence. Bringing the traditional legends in the frame of local mass media, Folklove resolves the problem of inauthenticity.

But there is also a lot of Folklove movement today in Macedonia and maybe in the whole Balkans which is pure Folklove. There are all kinds of Folklorism movements, local and other traditional folk groups popularizing all the possible folklore forms, for example the folklore feast, festivals, youth folk evenings, popular forms, etc. Folklore and family life, folklore in the schools and educational institutes, traditional home made folk arts, new traditional mythology.

Today Folklove is a source of revitalization of culture in the modern world. In need of new identity the culture discovered new values in something that we currently call non-culture, Fakelore, Folklorization, ethnization, or invention of tradition and that somewhere in the future will be also traditional culture or Folklove.


Bausinger, H.: Zur Kulturalen Dimension von Identität. Zeitschrift fur Volkskunde, No. 73, pp. 31-41.

Danforth Loring, M. 1993: Claims to Macedonian Identity: The Macedonian Question and the Break-up of Yugoslavia. Anthropology Today, Ho. 9, pp. 3-10.

Dorson, R. M. 1969: Fakelore. Zeitschrift fur Volkskunde, No. 65. Friedman, V. 1975: Macedonian Language and Nationalism During the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries. Balcanica II: 83-98fur Volkskunde, No. 87.

Herskovits, M. J. 1958: Acculturation, The Study of the Culture Contact. Glouchester.

Hobsbawn, E. 1983: The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge. Hobsbawn, E. 1990: Nation and Nationalism since 1780. Programme: Myth Reality. Cambridge.

Honko, L. 1955: Tradition in the Construction of Cultural Identity and Strategies of Ethnic Survival. European Review. Vol. 3, No. 2.

Honko, L. 1988: Tradition and Cultural Identity. Turku.

Kostlin, K. 1994: Das Ethnographishe Paradigma und die Jahrhundert - wenden. Ethnologia Europea, No. 24/1994.

Sazdov, T. 1987: Macedonian Folk Literature: Macedonian Review

Edition. Skopje.

Trilling, L. 1972: Sincerity and Authenticity. Harvard.

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