Between Ethnicity and Regionalism. Some Methodological Remarks concerning the Discussion about Slavonic People
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Ethnicity became one of the most important area of study in Polish archaeology on the turn of the 20th and 21st century. One can observe very violent discussion in Polish archaeological literature concerning the ethnogenesis of Slavs. This debate was opened with the Henryk Mamzer article 'Problem etniczny w archeologii' and by Przemyslaw Urbanczyk's book 'Wladza i polityka we wczesnym sredniowieczu'. These works caused a fierce response from Andrzej Kokowski, Michal Parczewski, Wojciech Nowakowski and others published in the book 'Cien Swiatowita, czyli piec glosów w sprawie etnogenezy Slowian', followed by other critical opinions (Tadeusz Malinowski, Witold Manczak and Janusz Piontek). It seemed that two opposite sites of this discussion could be identified with two different approaches towards the ethnogenesis of Slaves (the so-called 'authochtonic' and 'allochtonic' school). The authoress tries to reformulate the problems posed in this discussion in the wide methodological context. She thinks that it is impossible to solve these problems because in this discussion we do not deal with two different 'schools', mentioned above. We deal with two different theoretical approaches towards the definition of ethnicity in general. This is the main reason for the graet misunderstanding on both sides of the discussion. The first 'genetic approach' is represented by Kazimierz Godlowski, Józef Kostrzewski, Michal Parczewski, Janusz Piontek and Stanislaw Kurnatowsk claiming that ethnicity of an individual is a feature given at birth. It is very stable, it does not change during the lifetime of an individual. Primordial attachements can be perceived as the main factor that infuences or even creates the social relationships within groups. The second 'instrumental approach' is represented by Henryk Mamzer and Przemysław Urbanczyk. The main stress here is put on the perception of one's group and self. Ethnicity appears to be the result of social negotations. It seems to be very flexible because it depends on the economic and political situation. It can be formed and transformed all the time. In isolation the authoress describes the works of Jan Zak, supposedly the first Polish Archaeologist who noticed that ethnicity was something more than primordial bonds. In his theoretical approach he used the concept of communicative communities developed earlier by a linguist Ludwik Zabrocki. This concept turned out to be necessary to perceive the ethnicity as a phenomenon which consists of social relationships created within local societies, which are determined not only by biological factors but also by political and economic ones. Thus the works of Jan Zak can be treated as a synthesis of both 'genetic' and 'instrumental' approach.
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