Ethnological discourse in Slovenia under socialism (1945-1990) cannot be defined without ambiguity. After WWII the ideology of the new socialist regime sought to delineate the horizons of scholarly production, relying on Marxist premises (dialectical and historical materialism), and this required a radical reorientation of academic practice. The ideological assertions took the shape of institutional and conceptual decorations. In the first post-war years, these resonated with the ideological touchstones of Marxist science, but only on the level of avowals of orthodoxy. The ethnographic canon was not deeply affected, when we consider the scholarly and personal habitus of researchers active in the discipline. It was not until the beginnings of the 1960s that a radical debate began about a disciplinary habitus clearly marked by historical-materialistic arguments. The leading actor of the subsequent and occasionally contentious discussions and advocate of the 'Marxist agenda' was Slavko Kremensek. His professional input in transcending the 'folk culture paradigm' is outlined, his publications considered and his personal account commented. These personal considerations shed a different light on the relationship between ideology and scholarship, not only at the personal level but also in the institutional and broader social context. Notwithstanding the strong impact of the traditional positivist ethnographic paradigm, the characteristics of the academic landscape between 1945 and 1990 show a powerful imprint of the expanded disciplinary field. This was implemented not so much as an explicitly reflected 'Marxist' agenda as a deliberate materialist and historical programme distinctive for the modernist ethnological paradigm in Slovenia.