Folklore, Heritage Politics and Ethnic Diversity. A Festschrift for Barbro Klein.

Author:Palmenfelt, Ulf
Position:Book review

Folklore, Heritage Politics and Ethnic Diversity. A Festschrift for Barbro Klein. Edited by Pertti J. Anttonen in collaboration with Anna-Leena Siikala, Stein R. Mathisen, and Leif Magnusson. (Botkyrka: Multicultural Center, 2000. Pp. 278+ 7 ill.)

This book is at the same time a collection of symposium papers and a festschrift for Barbro Klein, who recently turned sixty years of age. Klein graduated from Stockholm University in 1961 and studied folkloristics with Richard M. Dorson at Bloomington, Indiana, where she also took her Ph.D. in 1970. For several years she taught at different American universities, including the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1980s she returned to Stockholm University, where she was appointed professor in 1996. She is now a director of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences in Uppsala. The first essay in the collection, by Anna-Leena Siikala, is a sketch of Klein's life in folklore on both sides of the Atlantic. The symposium, held in June 1998 in Botkyrka, Sweden, was organized by a Nordic research project sharing the same name as the book. The purpose of the project is to "investigate the role of folklore and folkloristics in the reshaping of Nordic life that is now taking place as a result of the recent extensive transnational migrations and related changes in the political maps of the world" (23). In a short essay Roger D. Abrahams elaborates on some of the themes of the research project and exemplifies how other folklore scholars have treated them.

In his contribution, Pertti Anttonen, the book's leading editor, gives an outline of some such political map changes. He demonstrates that the allegedly homogeneous national cultures should be described more appropriately as homogenized. The production of homogeneity is an historical and political process, constantly challenged by heterogenizing forces. The population of Finland, which is the example Anttonen chooses, has always been mixed. The political call for national unity, however, has demanded rhetoric of a genetically coherent Fenno-Ugric ethnicity constructed in opposition to the surrounding Indo-European ones. A central symbolic position has been attributed to Karelia, an area most of which has never even belonged to the state of Finland, but whose language, folk poetry, and customs have been regarded as representing the most ancient and genuine layers of Finnish culture. The Sami...

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