Emotions and other (un)palatable embodied experiences offer a platform for exploring the meaning and power of narratives in various parts and parcels of folklife. Emotions inspire creativity and symbolic expressions, they provide connections and attachments to peoples and things, both positive and negative. While humanities scholars often criticize the dissemination of excitable and contagious emotions in a globalised world, as well as the emotionalization of public discourses, we invite folklorists to focus their research on the resourcefulness of homo narrans and the universally recognized affective, emotional dimensions of storytelling.
The focal point of the next ISFNR congress in Zagreb will be the interdependence of emotion and narration. We ask how and to what extent emotions shape and figure the content and meaning of particular narratives and other (folk) performances, and how narratives and other performances produce emotional attachments, responses, and relations among people. The power of narration is always intertwined with emotional expression and response, but instead of offering ready-made answers, the “emotional turn” in folklore studies provokes a wide-range of questions: What kinds of emotions belong to different folk narratives and other expressions (dance, music, song, visual media)? Do emotions like fear and anxiety form the basis of folk beliefs and folk practices? How do emotionally charged interactions with an audience influence a performer and change the form, genre and meaning of the performance? How does the emotional register of narratives change when they circulate beyond their particular cultural group or move from a folk setting to the mass media and the web? Is there a difference in the ways that historical and contemporary “contagious emotions” provoke collective fears, hysteria and paranoia as well as collective happiness, euphoria, and nostalgia?
The research of digital technology as a tool of expressing and canalising emotions is also welcomed. Questions worth asking are: why and how do particular emotions emerge and circulate in a global social networking, how they (re)shape concept of self and other in communication, what narratives figure as a mode of “emotional governance”, gendered intimacies, therapeutic witnessing, and/or moral conduct confirming both the promise of storytelling and its limitations.
Suggested subtopics and/or panels
- Narrative genres and emotions
Creating, expressing and disseminating emotions in (folk) narrative genres, text, context and texture.
- Performances and emotions
Emotional economy of folk performances (music, dance) and the community in particular socio-cultural context.
- Language and emotions
Coding emotions in language and emotional languages (silence of emotions, 'sound and fury' of emotions, hate speech, love speech…).
- History and memory
Affective politics in the history of folk research; politics of memory in emotional communities through history.
- Global emotions, local issues
Emotional communities in global and local, virtual and actual villages in the present.
- Emotions in digital settings
Emotional narratives circulating from a folk setting to the digital media and vise versa.
- (In)tangible heritage and emotions
The role of emotions in managing the politics of (in)tangible heritage.
- Festivities and emotions
The role of emotions in narratives and festivities related to life cycle and the wheel of the year.
- Animals, cyborgs and others
Animalistic approach meets „affective turn“.
- Belief narratives and "fear of the other"
Fear of the supernatural; Fear of the dead; Fear of the dark; Fear of the unseen; Fear of specific creatures (animals, reptiles, birds); Fear of particular spaces/ places; Fear of "outside" cultures; Fear of deviance; Fear of magic/ witchcraft; Fear of the other sex; Fear of other classes; Fear of technology.
- Charms and the emotions
Charms and the emotions (e.g. fear, resentment, aggression, love, etc.); Charms in a South Slavic context; Charm as text; Charming practices documented on film; Digitization and the second life of charms; The Super petram charm-type in European traditions.