Inhalt des Dokuments
International Workshop, July 9-11
Venue: Institute of European Ethnology, Mohrenstraße 41, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Doing Social Anthropology with Folklore
Although folklore studies may share certain subject matters—customs, traditions and social institutions—with social/cultural anthropology, the two fields do not necessarily share the same social-scientific orientation. Even in the discipline’s earliest phase of development, folklore studies was dominated by its affiliation with the humanities. In this sense, Volkskunde in Germany and minsuxue 民俗学 in China share similar experiences and encounters.
“Volkskunde sei eine
Sozialwissenschaft” (Let folklore be a social science) was a slogan
circulated among the folklore students and researchers of Tübingen at
the beginning of the 1960s. With such a re-orientation in place,
German Volkskunde successfully adjusted itself to be able to
respond to rapid social changes in examining everyday life. In
contemporary China, folklore studies’ similar shift in orientation
seems to have been indispensable in understanding the cultural
re-arrangements that result from a confrontation with dramatic
This workshop offers a forum for intensive communication between German- and Chinese-language scholarship of folklore studies and social anthropology. The majority of thirteen papers presented, covering the fields of folk religion, kinship, coping with new technologies and ethnic identity, are based on empirical case studies of China. Meanwhile, German-speaking scholars will offer their comments on these papers from the perspectives of methodology and research design.
The focus questions this workshop raises are:
- How do folklorists incorporate methodological concerns to make their own academic development compatible with the new social-scientific orientation?
- What advantages and restrictions do the abundant historical written documents and oral literature of China have for the social anthropological analysis of contemporary society?
- Which areas/themes emerge as promising from a successful integration of folklore and social anthropology?
- If we are somehow able to offer clear responses to Questions 2 and 3, then we are approaching a new paradigm of studying Han-Chinese society. How can we help bridge the gap between social-anthropological literature and Chinese area studies? How can we characterize the position of social-anthropological studies of China on the international stage of general social anthropology?
Nine leading figures of
German-speaking scholarship of folklore studies and social
anthropology are invited to comment the working papers and to join
discussions; among them, Professor Hermann Bausinger will highlight
the intellectual sources of Tübingen in his keynote speech.
Anyone who is willing to contribute to the discussions is welcome to attend. The language used will be primarily English, which may be supplemented by German and Chinese as needed.
- Outline 
- Program 
- Participants 
- Participant's Login 
- Papers (Login required) 
KontaktDr. Sigrun Abels
Center for Cultural Studies on Science and Technology in China (CCST)
Sekr. KAI 1-4
Raum KAI 1.114
- Flyer: Doing Social Anthropology with Folklore 
- Poster: Doing Social Anthropology with Folklore