Folk culture has the power of knowledge and is a common place, taken up and revived by all those who, in certain historical epochs and various ideological contexts, had something to say in this area. The forms of folk culture carry the solidest and most undisputable signs of what one may call the national feature or ethnic identity. Today, the study of folk culture has other priorities, other goals. Before, it was a matter of asserting national identity, but now emphasis is laid on preserving and keeping that identity, given the progress of scientific thinking in this area and in relation to the primary goals at a certain moment, in one society or another, in one culture or another. Folk culture is “the way in which people think and express their thoughts, the way of expressing one’s attitudes and values that, perhaps, are not accepted when stated directly, but are still prevalent and direct people’s actions” (
Keywords: Folk cultureimagologyintolerancenationstolerance
Folk culture has the force of evidence and is a common place, taken up and revived by all those who, in certain historical epochs and various ideological contexts, had something to say in this field. The forms of traditional folk culture carry the solidest and most undisputable signs of what one may call the national feature or ethnic identity.
The contemporary tendency of western psychological research is to transfer and develop a large part of the ethno-psychological themes within cultural or intercultural psychology, a new and firmly established branch in the field of psychological sciences (Iacob, 2003, p. 45).
As regards the Romanian research work, the revival of ethno orientation is hopeful, particularly in terms of the emphasis laid on the research of new paradigms and methodological strategy. Imagology is already a proof of this (Iacob, 2003, p. 46).
Imagology is a discipline that was recognised as such at the 16th International Congress of Historical Sciences, held in Stuttgart in 1985, on which occasion a subsection entitled
In this paper we have used bibliographical references and a number of proverbs and sayings from the culture of peoples, which we have illustrated in relation to Romanian ones. Starting from the idea that writers, too, use imagological characterisations, we have sought to prove that even folk literature has such characterisations.
On researching aspects of imagology in folklore, we shall attempt to answer a rather spiny question: Is imagology a science which can reflect the moral and spiritual profile of different peoples? The conclusion is that it is a topic worth researching. It is relatively recently that imagology has entered the scientific and global circuit and the media is frequently conducting imagological surveys on various peoples. The Romanians initiated the first imagological surveys in 1915, when the teacher ApostolCulea from “Cuibul cu Barză” Primary School of Bucharest asked his pupils to answer a questionnaire regarding the features of the European nations engaged in World War I. The answers mirrored, naturally, the considerations they had heard from their parents and are similar to official results of contemporary imagological surveys (Culea, 1915, p. 5-20).
Purpose of the Study
Every people has its own thesaurus of proverbs and sayings which contains numerous imagological characterisations of other usually neighbouring but also distant peoples. For instance, French sayings such as:
The monumental collection of Romanian proverbs compiled by Gheorghe Zanne includes hundreds of imagological proverbs, such as:
The working methods are those used by ethnological sociology and psychology: comparative-historical, selection, deselection of folk culture elements and their analysis. The comparative-historical method is the basic method in the diachronic research of related languages and of languages in contact as well. It consists in comparing words or expressions having similar meanings in two or more languages in contact. Relying on this method, we have shown that in some languages, with which the Romanian came into contact, some expressions or proverbs have emerged as regards one language or another, the Romanian language or the language in contact. Based on this, we have shown that there are in Romanian some proverbs or expressions about cohabitant nations. Example:
Folklore, folk culture is the clearest and most convincing expression of the Romanians’ way of being and was considered as such by renowned Romanian scholars who pioneered Romanian folkloristics like VasileAlecsandri, Alecu Russo, CezarBolliac and so on. VasileAlecsandri, who is generally referred to when speaking about the beginning of the systematic study of folklore in our country (collecting, commenting), held a real lecture on folklore and ethnic identity when he wrote, in the study
Later, even the founders of folklore study as independent discipline would appeal to folk creation in order to support theses inspired by the scientific trends of the age. A popular definition of folklore was provided by Ovid Densusianu in his well-known introductory lesson to a lecture of Romance philology, published as Folclorul - cum trebuieînţeles (1909) (Densusianu, 1909, pp. 33-56), which is often cited.
D. Caracostea oriented his research in the same direction, aiming his studies to establish
Two relatively recent definitions, which are official and international since they were elaborated at the initiative of UNESCO in order to find ways of preserving folk culture thesaurus worldwide - a folk culture subjected to heavy pressures from other types of culture, non-culture or pseudo-culture -, insist precisely on the ability of folklore to constitute the most obvious expression of social and cultural identity of the group that has created and perpetuated it:
“A common branch of ethnology, cultural sciences, cultural sociology and psychology of nations, which deals with the study of images that peoples create of other peoples so as to characterise, admire and denigrate each other, sometimes only for the artistic pleasure to fantasise” (Vulcănescu, 1979, p. 160).
Dealt with, in the last decades, by specialists from various fields of culture (sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists, historians, historians of mentalities, etc.), the issue of individual or group identity has also drawn the attention of folklorists. In his study
Its empirical orientation, the themes of characterological research, the analytical-descriptive investigation technique, the contradictory interpretation of material give imagology the appearance of a quasi-scientific, sophisticated preoccupation (Vulcănescu, 1979, p. 3).
“This feature is common to both traditional and contemporary Romanian ethnological research” (Călin-Bodea, 1996, pp. 155-174).
It is in this field of reciprocal imagology that one has to find the key to tolerance and mutual understanding among peoples, without interethnic frictions, in the European Union.
Diversity of cultures and the identity of each of them derive, at the same time, from human nature itself or, more specifically, from (unanimously) considering man as a producer (creator) of culture, of cultural values and from reconsidering man-culture relationships. In this regard,
In a global world, more and more threatened by instability and terrorism, multiculturalism is striving to preserve the values of dialogue and democratic principles despite the slippages and the semantic redimensioning of the term (Oprea, 2016, p. 11).
Admission to the EU, apart from the integration of numerous ethnic identities, also meant compliance of their rights to international rules, which has always entailed an additional value. Multiculturalism has created national and universal patrimony with all its spiritual characteristics - architecture, literature, music, folklore, language, - and continues to do so. But, along with the term multiculturalism, which represents the summation of several cultures, beliefs and tendencies within the same space, all subject to international regulations, the entire arsenal of positivism and exaggerated festiveness has been adopted. “All different, all equal” is the slogan of the Council of Europe, which is vital to cohabitation in a peaceful world. However, multiculturalism is not only “Take, IankeşiCadâr” or games and songs performed holding hands, but also persuasive assertion of ethnic identity, revolt, racism, xenophobia or unfortunate events that occur accidentally, so very close to us (Oprea, 2016, p. 11).
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30 July 2017
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Furtuna, C. (2017). Mirroring The Moral And Spiritual Profile Of Various Peoples In Folk Culture. In A. Sandu, T. Ciulei, & A. Frunza (Eds.), Multidimensional Education and Professional Development: Ethical Values, vol 27. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 205-210). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2017.07.03.27