2/2021: Anthropology of rock

(CFP: 1–28 February 2021)

Rock is an important part of culture. Song studies, a subdiscipline of sound studies and an interesting context in contemporary humanities, have sought to enter the Polish discourse of cultural science for some time now. The anthropology of rock is a topic still in need of studying. Polish research in this respect is rather modest compared to other parts of the world, particularly the English speaking countries, where reflection on rock has been popular for many years. In Poland, its origins date back to 2009 when the first nationwide conference ‘Unisono na pomieszane języki’ [Language mix in unison], organised by Radosław Marcinkiewicz, took place in Tułowice near Opole. Eleven editions of the conference have been held so far – since the third session under the motto ‘Unisono w wielogłosie’ [Polyphony in unison]. Six volumes of the conference materials have been published (2010–2014, 2019). Their significance results not only from the fact that they are the first series of such studies in Poland but also that they have laid the foundations for Polish rock music studies. A few years earlier, in 2003, A po co nam rock? Między duszą a ciałem [What do we need rock for? Between soul and body], edited by Wojciech Burszta and Marcin Rychlewski, came out as the first multi-authored monograph on the topic. This shows that rock anthropology research is a relatively young discipline in Poland – not even 18 years old yet. In this issue we will focus on studies by Polish researchers. Ten years before the release of A po co nam rock?, Wojciech Siwak published his pioneering work, Estetyka rocka [The aesthetics of rock] (1993). The last decade (2009–2019) has seen a real flood of works on rock culture.

3/2021: Accessibility of visual culture

(CFP: 1–30 April 2021)

Contemporary culture is dominated by visuality. Dozens of ads, billboards, memes and videos flash before our eyes every day. Many of us contribute to this pool with own photos, drawings and collages published mostly in social media. Immersed in this ocean of images, we hardly ever reflect on the fact that visually impaired people can be excluded from this culture. It is a particularly pressing problem once we realise that people with low vision can participate in exhibitions, performances and film screenings only to a very limited extent, while their presence in museums, theatres and cinemas tends to evoke astonishment and doubts as to its purpose. Aldo Grassini, the founder of the Museo Omero dedicated primarily to the non-sighted, argues that the accessibility of culture for people with disabilities should be considered not only as a serious social problem but also an important factor in their therapy and social integration. While Polish cultural institutions take the effort to fully accommodate their events for the visually impaired, they often face financial, technical and psychological problems. Therefore, in this issue we present various ways of including visually impaired people in visual culture.

4/2021: Women and the countryside

(CFP: 1–30 July 2021)

Women have always been present at various levels of social life. They have been part of educational and support initiatives, and political movements. Their activity has been either appreciated or disregarded – typically compared to men as a common criterion for its evaluation. Descriptions of this natural gender relationality are fraught with multiple stereotypes. As people became more aware of women’s importance in the social and public life, cases of women breaking through the glass or grass ceiling (with the latter used in relation to women in agribusiness) began to surface in the discourse, with traditional gender roles more frequently identified as an obstacle in women’s development and pursuit of a higher social position. This was particularly true of the countryside where women are expected to play their traditional social roles. However, the last decades of intense economic and socio-cultural transformation have had an impact on the direction and nature of change in rural areas, e.g. in the functioning of rural families. Consequently, cultural codes that define the female and male family roles, relations between them and the accepted scope of duties and powers, have been modified. Self-definitions of what it means to be a woman or a man in the private sphere – in the family, among relatives and neighbours, in the economic or public-political space – have evolved. The roles performed thus far are changing in the light of the new cultural order while new ones are being developed. It is therefore necessary to review the position of rural women through the prism of culture defined by means of the dominant cultural codes and the resulting behaviour patterns.

1/2022: Cultures of moderation

(CFP: 1–30 September 2021)

‘We moderns have never needed a culture of limits as much as we do now’, argues Giorgos Kallis, an environmental scientist working in the field of ecological economics and an advocate of the idea of degrowth, in his book Limits: Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care. Fuelled by the economic system based on the growing production and consumption, the climate and ecological crisis prompts us to look for alternative models of social life. Profound changes are needed in how we organise our lives and economies – particularly in the countries of the Global North. It is also necessary to reflect on the values that steer these changes. One of them is moderation defined not as renouncement that is enforced by external circumstances and thus experienced as deprivation, but as well-being and living in balance with the environment, or as Kallis puts it, ‘a useful and happy life within the established limits’. Our aim is to look at this issue through the prism of Polish culture and its history. We intend to analyse the past and contemporary practices, communities and ethical systems developed around moderation, self-sufficiency and the concept of good life in harmony with nature. An equally important aspect for us is to study the lack of moderation, intemperance and coerced moderation as phenomena that continue to resurface in the history of Polish culture.