Download tales of roşia montană. oral narrative traditions and story

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Cultural anthropology wikipedia , lookup

Orality wikipedia , lookup

Social anthropology wikipedia , lookup

Jan Harold Brunvand wikipedia , lookup

Afrikaans folklore wikipedia , lookup

Folklore wikipedia , lookup

Folklore studies wikipedia , lookup

Scandinavian folklore wikipedia , lookup

Family folklore wikipedia , lookup

Ileana Benga
“The Folklore Archive of the Romanian
Academy” Institute, Cluj-Napoca
Applying for this programme on teaching anthropology made
twice a missionary tool from my work: once, for the fate of
folklore studies in the academic panorama, and second, for the
fate of the mountains in the area of Roşia Montană; i.e. the
awkward position of practising ‘ethnologia militans’, in
front of an almost unknown audience.
 The missionary’s zeal was the first to fail. Translating
folkloric relevance for anthropological understanding is wrong
for a goal. Worse always possible: aiming to transform the
folklorist in anthropologist.
 What stands: especially since the teaching side of the field
research means raising potential colleagues, the decision was
that we should stay with what we know best: ‘collecting
 What we know best: collecting narratives; more specifically:
narratives of oral tradition; memories, in one word.
 Dilemmas of choosing/assuming intellectual affiliation –
always hard to pinpoint.
 The meanings of ‘folklore’ assume different
attributions inside different epistemic traditions.
Unfortunately, what has become homonymy lately is taken
abusively for identity.
 Folklore (En), folklore/folclore (It), folklor (up to
WWII-Ro) designates the object of the research, not the
technique of researching (such as anthropology, e.g.);
the technique about folklore is ‘folklore studies’,
Ro: ‘studii de/în folclor, studii folkloristice’.
Who is folklorist?
 Perhaps the one that studies folklore? Is ‘folklore’
the correct unitary concept, regardless of the society
we apply it to? Does it designate just any kind of
popular tradition, be it more or less orally
transmitted? (suggestions always welcome)
 My only mark, so far: Mircea Eliade’s technical term
of‘culturi folklorice’(folkloric cultures). His
meaning is precise and rather narrow: it assembles
societies who share sameness in the following traits:
rurality, oral traditions, temporal layer of existence,
potential and often proven continuum inter se. For
example, we may speak of folkloric cultures for the
Classic Antiquity, we may speak of the European/southeastern European/Romanian folkloric culture(s) etc.
Who is ‘folclorist’?
 If other scientific traditions could maintain their
meaning for ‘folklore’, good for them. Ours, the
Romanian, was not that lucky.
 After WWII, the soviet format for our intellectual
performance was THE way, with no real options to make.
Hence the exclusive philological trend in interpreting
folkloric facts: ‘popular literature’, ‘new
folklore’ – i.e. highly praising the golden socialist
achievements and their acculturating impact on very much
conservative peasant minds – made for decades the core
of folkloric studies. Folklore as literature was the
refuge, and the cover for any other insight.
 It is the same ideological background that brings
‘folclor’ in the linguistic usage of peasants:
 Peasants themselves received the foreign word via
ideologically-manipulated festivalry: ‘Cântarea
României’, in between scar and dear memory for most of
us. (so that nowadays, when we introduce ourselves as
coming from the Institute of Folklore, what we get is
the splendid metathesis: ‘Aha!... Institutul de
Floclor... Acolo faceti servici, săracii! Asta-i cu
Marioara Murărescu, nu?...’)
 Surprisingly, ‘we’, the folklorists/folcloriştii, have
become post-socialist avant-la-lettre, following an
inner epistemological need for width.
 Surprisingly, the ones to get stuck in analysing new
folklore and easy festivalry and to deny existence to
oral transmission under socialism are anthropologists.
Professional maladies
‘Our’ (folkloric) sinful assumption: that we have reachable
temporal kindred: the quest for origins, that is, for
distinctive ancestors.
 ‘Their’ (anthropological) sinful assumption: that we have
reachable spatial kindred: the quest for uniformity, that is,
for common ancestorship.
 Unilaterality condamns both endeavours to be stranded: we
cannot afford to ignore, as it suits us on the moment, that
both time and space are continuum, and yet series of
fractures, at the same time.
 Small folkloric personal satisfaction: much healthier
anthropology looks at human dramas – like the destruction in
Roşia Montană – as we look at myths: with no emotional
involvement, with placid contemplation. This is healthily
coded as ‘objectivism’.
Maceration from top to
mountain in Roşia
bottom: the
The mountain (four of them, actually) in Roşia Montană means:
- the pseudo-urban, once multi-ethnic, community;
- the surrounding village communities, economically
dependant on the old mining;
- the old galleries and surrounding old settlements,
archaeologically available (beginning with pre-Roman
kilometers of galleries; continuing with one of the most
important urban settlements of the Roman province, with its
unique, in the Roman world, net of galleries, unique ensemble
of temples, unique necropolis; and with late mines, from
Austrians on);
- the mountain itself: a sanatorium scenery, for varied
ailments, such as depression, greed, & many more,
- gold and adjacent precious ores.
The Threat
 The
Canadian company Gabriel Resources, owned by a
former Romanian, bought from the Romanian state the
right to exploit gold in Roşia and in the surrounding
mountains with cyanides.
 They began to buy land and houses and churches and
cemeteries with higher prices than normal; they offered
resettlement in two variants: a new Roşia on a
neighbouring hill, or money to leave indistinctively;
even so, after having bought everything that was for
sale, about one third of the population refuses to leave
and continues the stand.
 Time for civil solidarity; some were bought, some were
not. See attitudes: Mass Media/Romanian Academy/Fânfest.
 Pressure grows: all means are used to chase Roşia from
history. Aggressive terms for the combat (saliently
The Stand
 Locals that found they had what to stand for; the
association Alburnus Maior; imported enthusiasm welcome,
intelligently used.
 Academics that found they have what to defend:
archaeological, historical patrimony; natural and human
ecology; the longer-term economic Romanian interest.
 From our niche: the school-field research tried at first
anthropological ‘objectivism’- and it seemed to work,
with discourse analysis of the parties involved; it
seemed to work with reading Roşia as community, to be
dismantled and recomposed elsewhere, with logical
consequences impending on local specificities. But we
were blocked in front of the sight of what was termed as
‘costs and benefits of resettlement’: folkloric
blindness, afflicting any possible benefit foresight.
Home to Folklore
 Impossible to continue an empty investigation; therefore
we were happy to return to our living narratives: orally
transmitted, circulated in every single canonical
folkloric variant; transgressing geographical area
boundaries and speaking of living local narrative
traditions. To portraits of powerful local storytellers, linking instinctively folkloric items more
coherently than the most skilled interview technique.
 And so gold became for us the tale of gold, the tale of
buried treasures in ancient times, of curses upon the
unworthy digger, of privileged encounters with local
daemons and fairies and tricksters, all available to the
insider alone. We could touch the tale. Gold and
silver are here today, are here for so long, but for how
long yet? They gradually cease being the core of things.
...better than silver and gold...
 The Tales of Roşia Montană are the only form of salvage
we may attempt. Collect them, as accurately as we can,
store them on a proper archive shelf, and access them
once in a while for what they are: our only memory about
a lost world.
 ... And keep your fingers crossed for the last standing
campaign, to last alive as long as possible. It is
called M I N D B O M B.