• Research and Ideological (Dis)Engagement
    Vol. 44 (2023)

    The aim of this thematic issue is to interrogate the relations between academic research and ideological engagement, both historically and in the present.

    When ideologies are used to justify violence, oppression, or to fortify hierarchies of inequality, is there an ethical responsibility for anthropologists to engage with the actors pursuing such agendas? If so, what effects might engagement in ideologically driven political interventions have on the quality and impact of anthropological research? If events in an anthropologist’s field site prompt political activism, how should anthropologists reflect on the ideological underpinnings of their scholarly response to ideas and events they find objectionable? The aim of this issue of Ethnologia Polona is to address these questions by interrogating the intersections of academic research and ideological engagement as they have unfolded historically and as they continue to shape our field today during this period of growing political tensions.

    Anthropologists who conducted fieldwork during the Cold War had to contend with a polarised ideological context that either condemned or celebrated socialism. Many continued to conduct ethnographic research during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s or in their aftermath, when nationalist, xenophobic, and exclusionary debates raged, much as they do today. The importance of recognising the intersection of ideology and research, and the impetus to act it often yields, became especially poignant after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. This war prompted anthropologists to re-evaluate their own research and the existing theoretical paradigms that had been developed to understand power and political change. How can we explain the multiple outbreaks of war we witness today and the will to fight among some and the will to resist among others? Which ideologies motivate these positions, and which do we want to inform our own?

    Cover graphic: Zofia Lasocka

  • Graphic by Zofia Lasocka

    Ethnographies of Protests
    Vol. 43 (2022)

    Protests are at the center of political debates across the globe. Apart from questions of their cultural content and political efficacy, organization and scope, there is a need to look at attempts at their control, delegalization and surveillance. The ideology of these protests is socially liberal or, on the contrary, express nationalist and populist ideas. They are also widespread; while the attention is often focused on big cities, they take place also in provincial towns and villages, where questions of ideology, control, and efficacy can have a very different character.
    Despite the multiplicity of these movements’ goals, observers point out the similarity of their tools, rhetoric and organizational aspects, as well as of the methods of subjugation and control used against them. These include, for instance: an increased emphasis on the use of emotions; importance of digital tools and social media both in organization and in control;transnational networking; “horizontal” leadership; and frustration with traditional parliamentary representation and politics in general, to name but some. While the intensification of protest activity is beyond any doubt, the question of what all this means or where it is heading is open.
    Central and Eastern Europe has an important history of protest – contentious mobilizations were an important part of social and political life under the socialist regimes, had a decisive role in the transformations of the 1980s and 1990s, and have been prominent, if often peculiar, part of social and political life ever since. How can we locate them within a broader field of international or global protest activity? How do they relate to the social and political changes of recent decades? Can we situate them with respect to the practices, discourses, and ideals of modernization, political transformation, and
    democratic backsliding?

    Cover graphic: Zofia Lasocka

  • Nation-Building and the Dynamics of Silences, Memory and Forgettings in Central Europe
    Vol. 42 (2021)

    This special issue focuses on the relationship between nation-building and the dynamics of silences, memory and forgetting in Central and Eastern Europe. The seven articles that comprise this volume, authored by scholars from leading academic centres in the V4 region, the UK and Norway, and from different branches of anthropology and adjacent disciplines, offer a rich variety of ethnographic examples, innovative concepts and theoretical questions. The main focus is to comparatively demonstrate how the concept of long-term silence (or deep silence), like other processes of memory and forgetting, can serve as a useful analytical category in the study of nation-building in the Visegrád region (but not exclusively).  This is a complex and dynamic process which can only be analysed and understood within the context of Europeanisation and globalisation. 

    Cover graphic: Cristina Soler

  • The cultural politics of food and eating in Poland and beyond
    Vol. 41 (2020)

    This special issue of Ethnologia Polona includes contributions from an international group of scholars who scrutinize the culturally embedded politics of food and foodways in Poland and beyond. Our aim is to demonstrate both the thematic scope and the theoretical directions present in the contemporary studies produced by scholars working on Poland, as well as Polish researchers working on other regions. The territorial scope of the volume is wide as it features analyses based on abundant ethnographic and historical material from Poland, Belgium, Georgia, Ukraine, Dagestan and Argentina. The volume features contributions from scholars representing different disciplines (anthropology, sociology, social history and cultural studies) based on original research (extended ethnographic fieldwork, archival research and autoethnography) and presenting a clear methodological reflection.

    Cover graphic: Pola Wiślicz-Iwańczyk

  • A healer women with a patient. Bishkek 2012. Photo: D.Penkala-Gawęcka

    ETHNOLOGIA POLONA: Health Matters, Patients and Doctors Through the Lens of Medical Anthropology
    Vol. 40 (2019)

    The articles included in this thematic section of “Ethnologia Polona” are written mainly by Polish anthropologists whose work has made medical anthropology an important and well visible sub-discipline of socio-cultural anthropology in Poland. In addition, we have invited two medical anthropologists from abroad (working in Saint Petersburg and Oslo) to submit their papers which complement the topics raised in this issue.

    This special issue provides an insight into the ways medical anthropology is currently developing in the country, though, of course, it cannot present the whole panorama of these studies. In the articles contained in this issue, we can trace the intersections of various research areas, topics and concepts, such as childhood, reproduction, biomedicine, biotechnologies, medicalisation, institutionalisation, commercialisation, standardisation, normalisation, guidelines, agency, ethics, disability, addiction, patients, biomedical practitioners, healers, complementary medicine, indigenous medicine, etc. While referring to anthropological theories and concepts, the authors all ground their studies in thorough ethnographic research.
    Several articles offer anthropological analyses of diverse biomedical technologies used in the diagnosis or treatment of children’s health problems, and/or examine the children’s own views on such interventions, as well as opinions and attitudes of parents and other actors. These texts show the complex “social work” of such technologies, whose impact goes far beyond biological action. Some of the articles tackle ethical issues connected with the use of biotechnologies, especially in the case of children. 

    This collection is intended to give the readers an insight into the main subjects and areas of research for Polish medical anthropologists, which are compatible with the contemporary studies of world medical anthropology. At the same time, it attests to the development of this anthropological sub-discipline in our country.

    Vol. 39 (2018)

    Guest editor: Piotr Cichocki

    The papers gathered in the ETHNOGRAPHIC EAR thematic issue propose diverse strategies of researching and describing how to use one’s own sonic-being-in-the-field to acquire unique, subtle knowledge. Divided into three sections SPACES, MUSICS and NETWORKS, the articles remind us that ethnography has never been undertaken in a world of complete silence; still, ethnographers have barely acknowledged that the world they study is also layered with sounds.

    Writing an ethnographic description centred on sound is challenging. The sound experience presents ethnographers with difficulties because it is embodied and pre-discursive. Nevertheless, if any discipline can undertake an engagement with sound, it is surely anthropology, with its ability to  use ethnography to uncover knowledge in places where other methodologies render zero data. The authors of this special issue aim at introducing the methodology of anthropology of sound to those who have not previously practised it. A concomitant aim is also to act as an urge to start using one’s own ethnographic ear. When we begin to listen attentively - sound starts to meaningfully emanate everywhere.

    Cover photo: 1. Design for an Earring, Giovanni Sebastiano Meyandi, Smithsonian Design Museum, license   CC Zero
    2. fot. Maica Gugolati, with the permission of the author. 3. fot. Piotr Cichocki, with the permission of the author. Collage - Dang Thuy Duong  
  • The chapel "The tomb of the Mother of God" in Kalwaria Pacławska, August 2017, photo: P. Baraniecki.

    Vol. 38 (2017)

    Volume 38:2017 (2018) of  "Ethnologia Polona" is dedicated to the anthropology of religion. The set of works featured in this issue in the thematic part of the volume presents the most recent anthropological insights into Catholicism – a complex and varied phenomenon, which has proved fascinating for the researchers, as is apparent from this collection. There are 7 articles on this issue (written by Kamila Baraniecka-Olszewska, Magdalena Lubańska, Adrianna Biernacka, Przemysław Gnyszka, Monika Golonka-Czajkowska and Mathew N. Schmalz). The focus was on showing the multidimensionality of Catholicism and its many faces, especially on the fact that this denomination has not yet been sufficiently researched by anthropologists. The authors used the study of Polish Catholicism, which is incorrectly deemed homogeneous, as a starting point for outlining the directions of reflecting upon the creed and the multitude of possible approaches to interpreting it. 

    In the section "New Issues, New Projects" the editor presents 6 articles on different aspects of ethnology and cultural anthropology, most of them based on ethnographic fieldworks: reception of media in Poland (Anna Malewska-Szałygin), migration studies  - Poles in Western Europe (Aleksander Posern-Zieliński), language identity in Bielarus (Katarzyna Waszczyńska), anthropology in Kyrgyzstan (Anna Horolets), Chinese family studies (Wang Yun), and research on Indian rituals (Seema Bawa). 

    In the section "Book review" Dominika Czarnecka presents the book published by Kamila Baraniecka-Olszewska in 2018.

  • Doors in Pooh, Kinnaur H.P. India Photo: Rafał Beszterda, 2016

    Vol. 37 (2016)

    In the thematic section under the title "HIMALAYAN AND TIBETAN IDENTITIES IN CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVE" the editors present the several directions of Himalayan-Tibetan research conducted by scientists from Europe and India. In this volume of Ethnologia Polona, 4 Poles (Klafkowski, Bloch, Beszterda and Szymoszyn) together with Tsering Chorol from India, Gerald Kozicz from Austria and Bela Kelenyi from Hungary, publish articles on their own investigations in various zones and regions in Ladakh, Zanskar, Kinnaur, Lahul&Spiti and among Tibetan and Himalayan communities in India, Nepal and all over the world. A common thread running through these outcomes is the primary research being undertaken although their scope and specific interest is different. 

    In the senction "New Projects, New Issues" there are 5 articles presented different aspects of anthropological research undertaken in Central and Far-East Asia (Ewa Nowicka with Ayur Zhanaev, and Lucjan Buchalik), and in Europe (Łukasz Kaczmarek and Magdalena Krysińska-Kałużna).

    In the section "Book Review" Anna Engelking presents the book written by Grażyna Kubica and dedicated to Maria Czaplicka.