Craenenbroeck, prof.dr. J. van (Jeroen)
Researcher Variation Linguistics
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From Text to Knowledge)
Researcher Variation Linguistics
Researcher Variation Linguistics
Guest researchers 2022
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ACEE: Amsterdam Center for European Ethnology
The Amsterdam Center for European Ethnology (ACEE) is a coordinating platform for research and higher education in the field of European Ethnology. It stimulates scientific exchange and cooperation between researchers. The focus is on the interdisciplinary research of cultural practices in daily life in their social, historical and geographical context in the Netherlands and Europe. This research is carried out from both a historical and comparative perspective. It employs methods and theories from ethnology, anthropology and history. In its research European Ethnology uses a bottom up, non-institutional perspective, including the analysis of apparently trivial cultural practices and aspects of everyday human behavior.
Significant social-cultural, economic and political changes in modern Europe have influenced communities strongly. Identity, ethnicity, heritage and history have become key concepts in these processes. These concepts are not understood as abstract ideas, but as subjects that arise from and are given meaning in the experiences of people in their everyday life. Globalization, unification, decolonization and migration have brought about a different way of dealing with the (un-)certainties of everyday life. In order to cope with these (un-)certainties or – in contrast – to internalize them people have a need for rituals, feasts, popular music, nostalgia, new identities or alternative religious movements. These are all topics that fit within the research framework of ACEE. As European Ethnology works from a historical-ethnological perspective, it also studies the dynamics of, for instance, emotions, material heritage and religious culture in the past.
ACEE is based at the Meertens Institute, which researches everyday language and culture in the Netherlands.
SIEF: International Society for Ethnology and Folklore
The International Society for Ethnology and Folklore – SIEF – is a multidisciplinary organization that brings together scholars from the fields of ethnology and folklore studies and neighboring disciplines, within the larger family of anthropological and cultural-historical disciplines.
SIEF provides a platform for critical debate, networking and exchange; builds infrastructures for intellectual collaboration; supports young scholars; and moves forward the fields that it represents. The organization has more than 800 members from around 50 different countries: researchers, (university) teachers and students, as well as members from applied fields such as archivists, museum and heritage professionals and others.
Once every two years, SIEF organizes a large international conference. In 2021 the theme is “Breaking the Rules. Power, participation and transgression”. The conference was originally scheduled to take place in Helsinki, but is now being held online (June 19-24, 2021). SIEFs fifteen thematic working groups organize their own conferences and workshops in the interim years.
SIEF has two peer-reviewed open access journals: Ethnologia Europaea and Cultural Analysis. A newsletter informing members about current developments is published twice a year. SIEF’s communicative activities also include videos and video series published on the website. “What is European Ethnology” is often used in higher education as an introduction to ethnology. In the video series “Ethnological Sensations”, more than 50 members of SIEF describe in short episodes what made them fascinated by the discipline of ethnology. Currently, the new video series “Ethnological Matterings” is published in which ethnologists explain how they apply their knowledge in society.
Role of science in society
SIEF is an advocate of academic freedom and is convinced of the crucial role of science in society. The organization helps to make the public aware of the social relevance of the knowledge that is brought together within SIEF. SIEF is a strong proponent of the use of ethnological knowledge, skills and perspectives in society. It is a UNESCO accredited NGO and is represented in the steering committee of the ICH-NGO forum.
SIEF promotes the internationalization of higher education in ethnology and folklore studies and facilitates collaboration. Every second year, SIEF offers an international Summer School for PhD students. The SIEF Young Scholar Prize for a scientific article in the field of ethnology and folklore studies is awarded once every two years to a young researcher.
SIEF has an international board. The secretariat, headed by the vice president, is located at the Meertens Institute. The Meertens Institute also stores the rich archive of SIEF that tells about the history of the organization that celebrated its Golden Jubilee Symposium in Amsterdam in 2014: SIEF was founded in 1964 as a successor to CIAP, Commission des Arts et Traditions Populaires.
See further: www.siefhome.org
This subproject investigates a) the use of language (dialect, regiolect, Dutch) and culture (ritual, festivals, gestures) in the construction of local identity in the Netherlands; b) the contexts in which local identity is experienced and conveyed; and c) the actors involved and their audiences. In doing so, we investigate what meanings are given to linguistic and cultural practices. An important theoretical point of departure is that “the place”, “the region”, or “the area” are not understood as clearly delineated geographical spaces with well-defined cultural, linguistic, and historical characteristics, but instead as the temporal, dynamic products of collective actions and social imaginaries. For this reason, the research will not only be focused on the discursive aspects of the expression and formation of local identities, but equally on the praxis in which such identities (in the sense of performance) are defined and experienced.
Researchers: Leonie Cornips, Irene Stengs
An intriguing example of cultural change (and stability) is the existence of cultural canons. For example, canons of literature (what are the most “influential” novels), philosophy (who are the “greatest” thinkers?), folktales (what are the most “popular” fairy tales?), or history (what are the most “important” events?) are assumed as a frame of reference for a shared culture. The emergence of canons is typically perceived as a process guided by two interacting factors: (1) acclaim from the cultural elite (publishers, translators, critics) and (2) widespread popularity in a community. However, there are still many questions about how these factors interact.4
Using computational models of cultural change, the song research at the Meertens Institute is attempting to gain a more concrete and more exact idea of the dynamics and mechanisms that are at the foundation of canon formation in music and song. Research into (the emergence of) canons is important for a better and more fundamental understanding of issues such as shared standards and values, regional individuality, and national identity, and brings various academic disciplines (such as musicology, ethnology, history, and literature) together. Here, the connecting role is also set aside for computational models of cultural change with which (through necessary abstraction and simplification) the general and fundamental principles of canon formation can be mapped out.
As a specific focus, more ethnographic research will be done into canon formation via qualitative methods, specifically in the field of church song traditions. Through the ages, the Protestant church has split up into various denominations. Each group had its own canon of hymns and a specific way of singing them, which became defining traits for individual identity. The various traditions still clash in the present day. Research will be conducted into how church song traditions serve as defining traits in the identity of individual groups and how the manner of singing could lead to mutual conflicts.
Researchers: Folgert Karsdorp, Peter van Kranenburg
A fundamental question in the upcoming research period into oral culture is why some cultural artifacts (such as songs and stories) are more successful than others. For example, why has Little Red Riding Hood been one of the most popular fairy tales in the western world for more than three hundred years? Why have people in the Netherlands been singing about how Kortjakje is sick for generations? Differences in popularity and cultural endurance can also exist at a more abstract level than individual cultural artifacts. For example, why have fairy tales always been extremely popular to tell, while the protest song as a genre is consistently in decline?
A central question of the song research at the Meertens Institute is how (oral) song and musical traditions in the Netherlands change or remain stable. With regard to this, special attention is given to the social and cognitive mechanisms that lie at the foundation when these song and musical traditions arise, become popular (and remain so), and then fall out of favor. For example, what is the influence of differences in social status on cultural transmission and selection and how do certain cognitive preferences impact a song’s success? In order to answer questions like these, the study is investing in the development of innovative computational models of cultural shift with which changes in cultural variation can be investigated on a large, magnified scale and in a quantitative manner. The formal and quantitative character of these models makes it possible to describe (historical) changes in song and musical traditions in a detailed, replicable, and testable way. Moreover, these models enable us to create abstractions from specific examples of musical change and draw connections to different, more general processes of cultural change. (For example, how do changes in song traditions relate to fashion trends or shifts in ideological or religious values?) This is all relevant to the research into dynamic identities in the Netherlands.
Researchers: Folgert Karsdorp, Peter van Kranenburg, Martine de Bruin, Ellen van der Grijn
The Dutch Folktale Database, which was started in 1994, contains a wealth of folktales (fairy tales, riddles, traditional legends, jokes, contemporary legends) from the Middle Ages until the present day. Each story includes metadata such as the location where it was told, the recorded date, the narrator, and, if possible, the international catalogue number (ATU typology). The Meertens Institute still has the necessary collections in the archives and editions that need to be entered. Some regions are still somewhat poorly highlighted and require additional materials. For the upcoming research, modern and historical materials will be further supplemented. For modern material, we can turn to social media (e.g. urban legends, internet memes, etc.), but there is also a significant need for materials from the 17th and 18th centuries to be supplemented using almanacs, jest books, and similar items. The database will be used for research into the form, meaning, variation, and function of folktales and for computational study of things such as narrative patterns, geographical distribution, motive clustering, gender differentiation, and the occurrence of sentiments. Finally, the folktale database will also be used for the digital knowledge valorization project of the SagenJager, which contains hike and bike routes that run from one folktale to the next.
A great deal of work on the Dutch Song Database stems from the current and upcoming research projects. In the coming period, relevant (meta)data will be enriched or added to the canon research (see B2e) and collaboration will be sought out more often with existing initiatives, in order to utilize the data available elsewhere as much as possible. Where a great deal of attention was previously given to historical song material, many of the primary materials from the more recent past will also be released.
Researchers: Theo Meder, Folgert Karsdorp, Peter van Kranenburg, Martine de Bruin, Ellen van der Grijn