Flashcards in Slavic Vampires Midterm Deck (154):
Why are monsters scary?
Because they play on our fears, our sociophobics
What we're afraid of is mirrored in the things we see in the monsters themselves
ex. we get zombies because of our fear of a massive outbreak of disease
Where is the birthplace of the vampire?
How are vampires buried?
1) People buried upside down are buried this way because if a vampire digs, they’re digging further into the ground – we burry normal people face up so their spirits can go to heaven
2) Some vampires heads were cut off and put between their legs so that they couldn’t reattach their heads
What did Balkan vampires target? Why was this scary to peasants?
o marriageable women
the vampire goes after these things is because people fear losing these things
you need women to make babies to help on the farm, you need your livestock and crops for food
what is the definition of a monster?
A being that upsets a culture’s ideas about the order inherent in the world
o By excessive violation of the boundaries between the categories that define the world for the given culture
o Threatens what the culture regards as most valuable
What are the types of monsters?
3) unstable forms (polymorphs)
4) excessively large
what are jammers monsters?
ex. medusa = human + snake
ex. centaur = horse + human
ex. zombie = living and decaying
what are indescribables monsters?
negative association of formless: ooze, goo, gunk, slime
ex. the blob
what are unstable forms monsters?
do not remain predictable in their defined category
subcategory = theriomorphs
ex. Dr. Jekle and Mr. Hyde
what is a subcategory of unstable forms monsters?
theriomorphs = humans turning into animals
what are excessively large for category monsters?
what are deformed monsters?
configuration of body not as expected
ex. one eye, two heads, big feet
what are uncanny monsters?
almost, but not quite human - conflicting signals about category
expectations about humans leads to differences standing out more which leads to disgust and fear, not empathy
what are the two types of monstrous behavior?
1) destructive on a mass level
2) transgressive on individual level (violating boundaries)
o threats to identity: trespassing physical or mental boundaries
o envelopment, dismemberment, penetration, invasion
why do we tell scary stories?
o Feel better about ourselves
o Conquer a fear
o Moral lessons
o Explanation for things
what are sociophobics?
the fears of a society at a given time
a fear that is situated in a particular society at a particular time. Not everyone might have this fear but it is common, widespread, and specific to the culture and time
what was the glass delusion?
Glass was developed and used for windows and cups and everything
People thought that they were made out of glass and that they could be shattered = glass delusion
The delusion passes at the same time that poor people start using glass in their homes and it becomes cheap
The glass delusion is a kind of social anxiety disorder because fear of breaking = fear of humiliation
It happened because of the newness and specialness of the material of glass
why do we tell stories about monsters? 9 reasons
1) To concretize formless fears so that they can be conceptualized more easily
2) Anthropomorphizing your fears – assigning non-humans human forms and motivations like in Bulgarian folklore smallpox is a witch
3) To help one cope with fears by showing that they can be controlled or conquered
4) To give warnings about the consequences of anti-social behavior
5) To demonize the other (reduce them to non-human status)
6) To scapegoat the other (blame for society’s problems)
7) For those who are classified as “other” to act out in protest against those in power (ex. zombie walks on Wall Street to protest the rich)
8) To enjoy a release valve for normally anti-social emotions (in a context allowed by society or in a “carnival context”)
9) To entertain by giving the audience the adrenalin-rush of danger in a safe context
what is anthropomorphizing your fears?
assigning non-humans human forms and motivations
ex. in Bulgarian folklore smallpox is a witch
what is othering?
a psychological tactic of classifying an individual or group as outside the norms of society
the idea of "us" vs. "them"
the "other is excluded from the category of human - we see the others as not deserving understanding or as dangerous
what is frission
brief thrill, triggered by fear or other strong emotion
how do we define folklore?
o Oral or custom-related
o Traditional in two senses: it is passed on repeatedly in a relatively fixed or standard form, and it circulates among members of a particular group
o Oral transmission creates different versions of the same text and these versions or “variants” are the third defining characteristic of folklore
o Usually anonymous
o Tends to become formularized aka it’s expressed in clichés
Do we have American folklore?
Yes, urban legends!
ex. Paul Bunyon
ex. Moth man
ex. Santa Clause
ex. Geroge Washington and the cherry tree
What are the 5 types of folklore?
5. belief tale
what is a myth?
they’re about supernatural beings that exist beyond the boundaries of human time and space
deals with why things exist and primal forces that are beyond the conception of the human being so they’re mythologized into personifications of forces
describe a natural phenomena by saying a god did it
what is a legend?
deal with a historical figure
ex. King Arthur
what is a fabulate?
tales that are known to be fictious (“fairy tales”)
ex. Hansel and Gretel
what is a memorate?
tales of the narrator’s own experience (1st person account)
ex. somebody saying they saw something crazy like bigfoot or UFO
what is a belief tale?
• Not the narrator’s own experience, but believed to be real
• E.g. urban legends (experiences of a friend of a friend)
• Sometimes classified as memorates
who is being attacked in folklore?
the victim is often the person/thing that the society worries most about
who is doing the attacking in folklore?
the attacker is typically a representative of some segment of society that causes anxiety
where does the attack happen in folklore?
often happens in a place that causes the society some anxiety
ex. mountains, forests, bad parts of town
what is the method of attack in folklore?
typically the monster will attack in some way that answers a society’s sociophobics (society’s common fears)
who defeats the monster in folklore?
usually the people who defeat a monster are the ones who are seen to have the keys to improving/saving society
What was the spinning bee?
spinning bee = typical work of unmarried girls
• it was a place to tell stories
• it was a multi-generational audience
• stories were meant to pass the time but also educate
• it showed the fears of the group
what is being Slavic based on?
Slavic = supranational imagined community
• perceived common ancestry and culture and background
• closely related language
• many related folk traditions
is an imagined community an imaginary community?
NO!! Being Slavic is a supranational imagined country
• it’s an identity with social and perceptual reality
• not based on all the members being in routine contact
• not based on objective features shared by all the members
• members perceive identity based on belief that they share traits
• there is nothing about anybody that makes them intrinsically related other than their shared area or belief
what is perceived common ancestry?
it doesn't mean actual shared genetic ancestry
ex. there is nothing essential about you that makes you American; it's a perceived, constructed identity
what were the non-slavic languages?
Yiddish, Romanian (romance), Albanian, Greek, Romany, Hungarian, Turkish – these all sound completely different
Slavic language are a family of closely related languages that all sound very similar
in what ways could you define who the slavs were?
o Shared culture: lots of Slavic cultures have colorful decorative eggs and a shared belief in vampires
what is a soul? what is the journey that the soul takes?
soul = life principle/identity that animates the body
soul in amniotic fluid (world of spirits) → gestation & birth → soul in body (world of the living) → death and posthumous journey → soul out of body (world of settled dead)
what happens to the soul of a vampire?
vampire = corpse reanimated by it’s soul or a demon
the soul stays in the body but doesn't belong to the world of the living, it's in a limbo stage
a vampire is a corpse brings death among the living because its soul was not put to rest
where do vampires live in pop culture?
- luxury homes (twilight)
where do vampires live in folklore?
in a peasant graveyard
a vampire is someone who used to be one of us but now resides in the cemetery/ non-living zone
how do vampires dress in pop culture?
• Dracula: A cape, dark clothing, rich, money, power
• Underworld: hipster, goth, BSM, dark, edgy, open to experimentation, cooler than mainstream
• Twilight: normal but expensive, wealth and glamour, vampires are objects of desire
how do vampires dress in folklore?
• Vampires are in burial garments; they aren’t going to change from whatever they were buried in
• When they were buried, the clothing was brand new and was typically a white tunic/dress (unmarried women were buried in their wedding dresses)
• Might be wrapped in a shroud
• Vampires chew on their shrouds in their graves and this kills off their family
what do vampires look like in pop culture?
thin, pale, fanged, super hot
what do vampires look like in folklore?
• Invisible – people born on Saturday (the sabath) could see vampires, so could 4 eyed dogs and black horses
• They’re felt as a puff of wind; often referred to as shadows
• Flickering lights or animals or moths (form of wandering soul)
what was the myth with vampires and cats?
if a cat jumped over the body and the soul was caught inside the cat
in folklore, how were vampires described in the grave?
disinterred vampires are undecayed with 3 typical traits:
1) Red in the face/red all over
2) Swollen with fresh blood
3) Covered in fresh blood
what does folklore do to a story?
it causes a lot of variation in stories because they’re being passed down orally
what are the three regions of Slavdom?
1. Eastern Europe
2. (East)-Central Europe
3. Balkans (south eastern Europe)
what religions are in the slavic world?
3) Eastern Judaism
*There are also pagans and scientologists and shamans too but the first four are the main ones in the area
how can we learn about the life of a peasant?
we don’t know peasants! We don’t have written sources about peasants and if there are sources, it’s not from the perspective of a peasant
almost all our information about peasants is going to be screwed to how outsiders think about peasants
one of the ways we can understand peasants is folklore because they came from their mouths and voices; it’s how they told the stories
folklore is coming from a very different outlook on the world
were slavic peasants open to change?
life stays the same for the peasants for 1500 years give or take because to them it didn’t matter who ruled their land
they are people that have lived the same way for a long, long time so sometimes they’re a little stubborn about their way of life
what are the two models of time and family?
linear and cyclical
what is the linear model of time and family?
We think of time as a progress narrative that goes in one direction
You’re a baby then a kid then an adult then an old person then you die
Supposedly things in the future are supposed to get better because our knowledge grows and we have more things to make life better
This is our interpretation of time as modern folk
what are examples of linear family metaphors?
these are a part of our way of understanding things linearly because there’s an idea of a new family that is a discrete entity on a familial line
do you have a family → This means do you have a spouse and kids
they started a family → they had a first child
they have a young family → they have small children
our family is very old → there’s lots of generations
their family died out → the last person with that surname died
what is the cyclical model of time and family?
the family/household is a constantly renewed unit; there is generational replacement
in the spring you plant, in the summer you tend to the plant, in the fall you harvest, and then everything dies in the winter which is a yearly cycle and we can think of this in terms of a family too - when a new family comes along, you’re just replacing the old family and it’s a cycle – so when a grandpa dies, it means the family needs to have another kid to replace him
this view means that things basically stay the same!! (which is a good thing because no change means consistency)
why did the peasants like no change?
if you’re a peasant and a disease comes through, everybody could die and an entire family could get wiped out – so if everything stays the same that’s great because it means that nothing catastrophic is happening and nothing is changing
The status quo is a great thing!
what are the two basic social units in the peasant world?
village and household
what is a nuclear family?
parents + offspring
wealth is what helps us to have a nuclear family! You can't afford to live on your own without money
what are the three types of households?
1) linear nuclear family households
2) extended family households
3) multiple nuclear extended family households
what is a linear nuclear family household?
when people get married they break off of the original household and start their own
what is an extended family household?
more than 2 generations per household
like when a grandparent moves back in because they can't take care of themselves
what is a multiple nuclear extended family household?
parents have kids who have kids and they all live together
ex. in bulgaria there were 9 households with over 30 members
what is a zadruga?
united family; extended multiple nuclear household
several related nuclear families in one household
what is the housing situation of a zadruga?
shared house or compound built around a central area like a courtyard
what is the property ownership situation of a zadruga?
all the male members; administered by headman
sometimes it was the oldest male or the most abeled man but it was always the sons of the patriarch of the family
where do the women live after they get married? how about men?
patrilocal for males: this means that sons stay at home after marriage
virilocal for women: wives join their husband’s household – they leave home and become part of a new family – this means that the women are the strangers that don’t have a group of people they can rely on; they only person they have is their husband and other than that they have no other support when you get to the zadruga – so it’s a really big deal who you end up with
why are women viewed as strangers and scary in a zadruga?
you trust your family but if a stranger comes in, like a newly married women, they are the stranger and they can be a scary threat because they’re unknown
women are the new insiders in the family itself and also the women are scared to come into a new zadruga so this is where stories about vampires stem from
who has authority in a zadruga?
patriarchal so the household head who is the oldest able male is in charge and assigns work to the males and then his wife would assign work to all the women
how did labor work in a zadruga?
- rotating tasks
- framework assigned to men
- women work was assigned by headman wife
- rotation of chores was vital for harmony so that there was no favoritism among nuclear families
why is having a large family an economic advantage?
the bigger the family, the better potential you have to survive – so if the household were to break up into smaller units that would be a problem
why would you want to have more kids?
• Good for work
• Kids die often from diseases
• To continue the family
• Protection from neighbors and blood feuds
• Families also had to be mostly self-sufficient – if you want a pair of shoes you have to make them
• With more works, the family could better sustain unexpected mortality
• With more workers, the family could better sustain war and military conscription – the army would go to villages and tell them how many people they wanted and would take whoever the family decided to give up – the military conscription was 20 years which was pretty permanent, so once you were enlisted you were gone
• With more workers, the family could better sustain corvée (forced labor for landlords that owned the land)
• Better self-defense against blood feuds
what is the ethos of familialism rather than individualism?
When we think of individualism we think of personal responsibility because what we do reflects on us – people aren’t going to charge your parents or judge their character if you’re the one that gets caught speeding
In the Slavic countries, everything is for the good of the family so what you do have to be about you and your family – you have to put the good of the household first
All members should put the good of the household first:
• By obeying the headman and headwoman
• By maintain harmony
• By avoiding shame in the eyes of the village
what are the existential values that were attacked for peasants?
- property (fields and livestock)
- health of family members
- fertility of wives
- marriageable daughters
who does the vampire attack?
the vampire returns to their own kin!!
as the family was the focus of anxiety, the main demon is a former family member
what were the two categories of the dead in slavic folk belief?
2) bound dead
who were the ancestors?
• Still have good relationship to their family
• Souls is settled in the afterlife
• Die “in season” so at a proper age and time
• Not weighed down by sins
• Clean and revered
• Return for commemorations
• Protect the family
who were the bound dead?
someone who gets stopped here and doesn’t get to go on to the afterlife and is somehow still stuck in this place – being bound to this place is bad and they can’t leave till this binding is removed – there’s something off in the world, there’s something wrong
die "out of season" so maybe they die young or under unfortunate circumstances
weighed down by sins
unclean (taboo) and reviled
return at unpredictable times: if everything is at the right time it’s okay but once something gets out of the right time it becomes a disaster so it’s this idea of temporality coming back again
What happens if somebody is bad in your family?
If somebody is bad in your family they’re going to come back as a vampire and attack your family, not random people
this is a big difference between how we think of the vampire today and the peasant vampire
were people worried that they themselves would become vampires?
the idea that the vampire instills fear of disruptive and unusual people that could become vampires
anybody that has the potential to become a vampire, you need to be afraid of them
this means that there’s fear within the family and you need to be afraid that YOU are going to become a vampire; if you live in a close knit family structure the people you love most is your family but if you become a vampire you’re going to attack your own family which is something to be very scared of because you’ll be attacking the people you care the most of
this keeps not only other people in line but also keeps yourself in line
what was the peasant opinion on vampires doing good things?
it's still wrong because it's the undead and that's not right, it's not natural
what is the definition of taboo?
not to be violated boundary between categories - a taboo is something that bridges categories that shouldn't be bridged
something belong to taboo category is out of bounds:
- sacred (not to be defiled)
- unclean (defiling)
ex. pedophilia = child + adult
**keep in mind that somethings are only taboo under certain times and places**
what happened in peasant world if you broke a taboo?
there would be supernatural punishment – the punishment wouldn’t just come onto you, but to the entire family unit because family is the most important thing and everything you do is a reflection on your family as well (it’s not an individualistic society like U.S.)
ex. if somebody commits suicide then you don’t get a funeral in the orthodox church and you’re excommunicated – if you commit suicide in a church then you can’t hold mass their anymore until somebody comes and re-consecrates the church – so not only is the person themself defiled but also the space itself – something bad will happen if you commit a taboo
are taboos culturally specific?
in America you can marry your first, second or third, or fourth cousin but in the Balkans no, no, no
what is the law of contagion?
non-ritualized contact with the dead is a risk of death itself
the dead bring on the contagion of death
what power do words have?
words are a type of symbolic action that have the power to change the world directly
there's the idea that naming can summon/contact something
vampires would call out people's names and knock on their doors and whoever responds dies
ex. saying voldemort or bloody mary
ex. don't even say the word wolf in fear that it'll come and kill your livestock
how did peasants avoid contact via verbal taboo?
you don't name the things that are dangerous
along time ago people didn’t want to say the name bear, they didn’t want to use the name at all or else it would come – you don’t’even want to get close to saying the name because the name is so scary to you that you refuse to say it
what are the two ways you can get around saying a name?
1) taboo deformation
2) taboo substitution
what is taboo deformation?
you skew the names just a little so that they aren't using the word that is truly terrifying
sacred: gosh instead of god, jeez, darn instead of damn, shoot instead of shit
the term for vampire is often phonetically wrong aka deformed for a given dialect
ex. vimpir, vempir, lampir
what is taboo substitution?
ex. OSU vs. the team up north
ex. the term for vampire is often replaced by a less threatening or ambiguous term
what are the sociophobics of the peasant household?
- invasive outsiders motivated by envy and greed
- disruptive insiders motivated by selfishness
existential values attacked:
- health of members (children)
- fertility of wives
- marriageability of daughters
what three elements came together to create the vampire myth in the Balkans?
rel-life observations, sociophobics, and a magical worldview
what is magic?
performing symbolic acts to cause or prevent events
such acts are believed to have a DIRECT effect on the unseen order that controls the world
they're commands, not petitions like prayer
ex. wearing lucky socks
ex. harry potter using a wand and then something happens
ex. drawing out a fever with an iron knife
what are the types of ways of manipulating the unseen order by symbolic acts?
1) canonical prayers and rites by priests
2) apotropaic rites: apotropaic means intended to ward off evil or bad events – for example, plowing around a village during an epidemic would seal it off from bad things coming in
3) private rites for health and protection: a lady sprinkling salt on her kids to make sure they were safe
4) magic done by specialists for payment: wizards and wise old women
was there a dividing line between magic and religious rites in folk practice?
no strict dividing line
think about the movie we watched in class the priest went out to help hunt the vampire! He didn’t tell them that there’s no such thing as vampires
- no sense of magic being an old religion or occult
- village priests tolerated or participated in magical rites
-religious elite viewed rites not sanctioned by the church as demonic
- mixing between magic and religious was okay but totally ignoring the church was not
what is a magical worldview?
a belief that the world is governed by magical rules
essential elements of the magical worldview:
3) symbolic acts
what is the rule of participation in the magical worldview?
everything participates in a web of mystical connections so for example if your farm does super well it means that you probably did a lot of things right
if everything is mystically connected, seeking help through the connection is normal and expected (not seen as witchcraft)
not everybody has equal power to exploit the mystical world – if you’ve been prospering then you probably have more ability to contact the mystical world
what is the rule of causality in the magical worldview?
nothing is an accident, everything is caused – events are caused by agents exerting their power intentionally
events are caused by agents with intentions
what are the possible agents in the rule of causality?
1) other humans
2) spirits with human-like wills
ex. demons of the forest, bathroom spirits, etc. – people knock on wood because people believed when you said something like I hope the water is calm today for boating, a spirit was listening and would make the exact opposite happen so the knocking would distract them
3) god and the saints
what is the law of similarity?
"like produces like"
by imitating a desired event, one can cause that event
for example, a rain dance sounds like a heavy rain so by making this sounds it’ll make the rain spirits think, oh yes I do need to make it rain
what is the law of contagion?
things once in contact stay in contact
if X and Y have been in contact then you can use X to effect Y
ex. If an unclean corpse (a vampire), is buried in the churchyard, it will drink up the fertility of the earth and the rain from clouds. There will be a drought – To avert the drought, pour barrels of water on the grave
ex. if you eat the meat of an animal killed by a vampire, you will die and become a vampire – makes sense now because if a cow dies of disease, you probably shouldn’t eat it
ex. voodoo doll works because it has a part of that person so if a voodoo doll has your hair, it can be used to get back at you
what makes you believe something is true?
- seeing is believing
- experiencing something
- if somebody you trust tells you something (expert or friend)
- somebody explains something using things you already believe in
what two logical fallacies does the magical worldview rest on?
1) Post hoc reasoning
2) Confirmation bias
what is post hoc reasoning?
A occurs before B; hence A is the cause of B
**Correlation, NOT cause
ex. I’ve done well on a test every time I wear this pair of socks, so these must be my lucky socks – there’s no real connection but it’s trying to make you believe that there is this connection (happens a lot in advertising like a guy orders the “right” beer and then a girl smiles at him)
what is confirmation bias?
people favor interpretations that confirm their deeply held beliefs, to the exclusion of other possibilities
somebody who believes inherently about something – if there’s proof of something that contradicts this belief, they’ll ignore it or reason themselves out of it – it’s really hard for us to change our minds
how are vampires related to the magical worldview?
a lot of vampire lore was created by interpreting real observations through the lens of the magical worldview.
for example, someone gets sick after a relative dies – what conclusion do the other villagers come to?
or the corpse looks strange – what’s the interpretation?
vampire stories are there to explain things and are part of a much larger understanding of how the world works
how did the peasants use social control to hinder people's ability to do anything they want?
in Slavic villages: how good are the law? Not that good. Are you going to get fired in a Slavic village? No because the fired person will probably take it out on you. Social media for the Slavic peasant? lol no
They had gossip and folklore – so for the Slavic peasant this stuff existed on a local level instead of a national level like it does for us
who were the victims of vampires? in modern vs. slavic
modern day vampire attacks the innocent and young women = the maiden, less often it’s men, usually it’s not children
slavic vampire returns to its own kindred – it’s favorite victims is babies and small children, its widow, other family members, the livestock
what are the 9 modes of attack of the slavic vampire?
1. The Slavic vampire consumes, it actually drinks and eats things from the peasants like blood, a mother’s milk, its burial shroud and its own limbs (the burial shroud would shrink and the extremities would decay first so the peasants would reason that this was because they were vampires), travellers, brides and grooms, hearts, corpses, stored food
2. The vampire would also smother by pressing on the chest (feels like a bronchial infection) or crawling up nostrils of victims
3. The vampire could also gaze with a deadly effect from church tower or at family meals through the window or gaze at the unborn
4. Vampires could also summon you to the grave by knocking at night, calling the name of a sleeping person, or ringing church bells – there’s many myths about vampires coming back to try and woo their wife to the grave – a lot of these things aren’t creepy during the day but at night everything is scarier
5. Vampires could have sex with their widows or unmarried women – the idea is that the victims will dry up or have other misfortunes – it will also ruin their marriage prospects and any children that are conceived from the victims can see invisible vampires orrrr become vampires themselves in the future (it’s a toss up)
6. Stealing of ruining property – when it takes a long time to make a pot it’s threatening to have somebody come break it
7. Disrupting household by making messes or loud noises
8. Riding livestock to exhaustion
9. Destroying crops and food supply or causing crop-killing weather – or eating or spoiling stored food like grain, wine, flour, bacon, beans, and fruit in the house – think about the movie we watched in class, the vampire was in the flour mill! In a small village, a flour mill is super important because you’ll probably starve without bread
how do people become vampires in slavic times?
o Bit by a vampire
o Touching of the dead
o Misbehavior during their life
o Improper burial
o Dying before their time
o Contact with a vampire: law of contagion: being attacked by a vampire, eating meat of a livestock killed by a vampire
o Unusual or improper life-cycle transitions – cat jumping over a body
how do people become a vampire modern day?
o Vampire turns you but it’s viewed as a gift because a lot of times it’s a young person dying and the vampire turns them out of pity
o Your parents are vampires
o Someone who is over lusty
o Don’t follow the social norms of growing up – vampires usually don’t have jobs
what was the relationship between being a drunk and vampires?
there’s a relationship between being a vampire and being a drunk because both of them drink, it’s a metaphor for reality - it’s about making sense of the world around you in a language that makes sense to you - so here, we have an overlap between the idea of a drunk and the idea of the vampire
lots of times, alcoholics and those who died while drunk were thought to be vampires in the future most likely
there were times that it’s okay to be drunk in a village during festive binge-drinking but anti-social drinking was viewed negatively; think about being drunk on a Friday vs. a Tuesday night – there is proper places and times for things but when you step outside those bounds, it becomes improper
what were the factors in the vampire/alcoholic association?
• “Red as a vampire”
• Greed in life – greedily drinking in life means greed in death
• Heavy drinking consumed limited goods – now days we have liquor stores all over but for the peasant, alcohol was a limited good and there was a finite amount of alcohol – there was the idea that there was finite amounts of good and bad in the world so if your neighbor is doing badly then it probably means that you’re going to do alright
• Heavy drinking disrupted the household and impeded work (same as today)
• Heavy drinking shamed the family
what is the ethos of familialism and not individualism?
It’s not just about shame, it has a bigger connotation, it’s about the family’s status in the village and drinking could really harm the family
You need to think about the family’s needs/interests and how they outweigh individual desires
Stability is more desirable than change
Behavior must be guided by custom and obedience to elders – the idea of custom is important because we get our customs from folklore
Conformity leads to harmony – doing one’s own thing creates burdens for others
There are good and bad things about both familialism and individualism – in the U.S. individualism is valued and self-interest is often held to be the primary consideration – usually it’s people that go against the grain that are called heroes but in a lot of cultures this would be somebody that people say is a trouble maker because they’re shaking things up
what is social control? what are the two types of social control?
procedures for ensuring compliance with the rules
1) formal (laws)
2) informal (customs)
what are formal forms of social control?
1) legal sanctions
2) religious sanctions
what are information forms of social control?
1) approval vs. shame
2) rewards vs. punishments
3) acceptance vs. exclusion
4) threats of bad consequences in the afterlife or by supernatural attack
ex. story of the thumb sucker
ex. midday spirit
what happened to violators of norms?
they are likely future vampires - people were scared of vampires but also of becoming a vampire themselves!
evildoers’ souls are burdened so you come back because you can’t make the journey to the world of the dead
what is collective responsibility?
everyone is punished not just the evildoer
this is why the vampire comes back and attacks the vampire's family
ex. there were certain Christinan communities that thought the entire community could be damned by the actions of one or more people
what is behavior that is punished socially in the modern world?
- slut shaming
- sexual orientations
- not wanting children
- doing drugs
what behavior was socially punished in the peasant world?
- habitual over consumers of limited goods
- the dishonest
- habitually violent, quarrelsome
- the religiously heterodox
- the cursed
why was being a habitual over consumer of limited goods a behavior that was punished in the peasant world?
because people would run out of stuff like alcohol and food, there wasn't a kroger
why was being dishonest a behavior that was punished in the peasant world?
Oathbreakers are considered some of the worst people; your word needs to be firm
we still see this today but back in the time, people didn’t have contracts so you needed to have some kind of way to establish trust so punishing people who broke oaths was a way to establish trust
the dishonest included: bandits, robbers, cheats, those who move boundary markers, those who steal from church or school
why was being habitually violent, quarrelsome, or cruel a behavior that was punished in the peasant world?
There wasn’t a lot of police in the ancient world so if somebody beats up a neighbor, there’s no police to come and take somebody away for being violent
This does not include socially obligatory violence like warfare, self defense, blood feuds, or vengeance for murder or moral humiliation
It was people that were violent outside sanctioned violence that were considered bad – this is still true today; if somebody comes into your house you’re allowed to shoot them
why was being a religious heterodox a behavior that was punished in the peasant world?
This includes the unbaptized, heretics with wrong doctrines, apostates who abandoned the faith, and members of other religions
In Russia, if you were a wizard in life you would be a wizard after death
why is the Balkans a cultural shatterbelt?
The Balkans is also called a cultural shatterbelt which is a hodgepodge of cultures and religions that don’t live in discrete areas; the ethnic boundaries don’t correspond to political boundaries so you have turks next to Serbian orthodox next to Christians
there was a high degree of mixing of cultures and groups and languages and religions which is why it’s a shatterbelt; they kept things different but also shared a lot of ideas
why was being cursed a behavior that was punished in the peasant world?
you could be cursed by:
1) god like oath breakers
2) the priest like the excommunicated
3) parents like the disowned
4) the village like the undetected criminals
why was being a sorcerer a behavior that was punished in the peasant world?
they are envious users of harmful magic
why was being a vampire a behavior that was punished in the peasant world?
because they become vampires when they die
what was the elite view of pagan gods?
that pagan gods are demons
there weren’t a lot of lords in the same neighborhood so they traveled around a lot to hang out with other lords so many of the lords were international
the peasants were not international – the low class will combine local belief with Christianity or Islam while the upper class had more of a transnational understanding
what is folk syncretism?
certain elements going from the old to the new
there was an old cattle god being put into an icon that becomes the protector of the cattle – it transforms from being an actual beast to a beastly human; a way of making sense of things – lots of patron saints are just a development of the old polytheistic world
what does polytheistic mean?
you have hundreds of gods and the gods fight each other – you don’t know the whims of the gods or how they’re going to act so you have to try and figure it out – this helped people make sense of the world based on if they made good sacrifices to certain gods
No single god is omnipotent – there’s no grand god that exists over everything so all gods are important - All gods can be good or ill-willed depending on what you’ve done for them lately
what is the struggle with polytheism?
The goal was to maintain order which was essential factor for prosperity and maintaining the cosmos but there was evil and chaos in polytheism
GOOD WAS ORDER
EVIL WAS SYNONYMOUS WITH CHAOS
For a peasant, anything that maintains stability and was ordered was considered good
Good behavior pleases gods and leads to prosperity – if somebody is prosperous that means that they’re good people; if somebody doesn’t prosper they’ve brought it upon themselves
so this means that the peasants thought that the lords were good people and that’s why they were prospering; another word for lord is nobles and the nobles are noble – we don’t really believe this today, we don’t think that everybody that is rich is good
what was dualism in the slavic world?
the Slavs believe in two main gods in constant conflict – one god was good and the other was evil aka an agent of evil
both gods were always there and always together
good: light, sun, life, right, even numbers, spiritual, young, spring
evil: dark, moon, death, left, odd numbers, far from home, forest, below, dry, fire, winter, old, animal, female
**this is why people were scared of women coming into their house because they were bad by nature – the women are both the threat and the threatened
were women allowed to be sorcerers?
they were allowed to be sorcerers after childbearing years because you couldn’t pass it on to your kids but if you were doing magic while you could still conceive it was still considered taboo
what type of monster is the kraken?
wrong size for their proper category
what type of monster is the shapeless horror?
what type of monster is davy jones?
what type of monster is jacob from twilight?
how are the Balkans a cultural shatterbelt?
The Balkans are a cultural shatterbelt because a native of Romania with citizenship could still not be considered Romanian because the political boundaries and self-defined ethnicities that belong to each nation do not match. Ethnicity is mixture of culture, religion and language so you cannot categorize
people just based off of where they live geographically and not take other things into consideration.
this is different from many other parts of the world where there are discrete areas for different ethnicities
what are the three main areas of Slavdom?
the balkans, central europe, and eastern europe
how can we define folklore?
Folklore is a tale that is passed down in a culture by word of mouth that represents values/fears
of the culture. It is an oral tradition so different versions of the same story are produced because
there are variations in how people will tell the story. Folklores often are used to teach a lesson or
cater to the fears of society.
why is eating live octopus taboo?
it breaks the barrier between things that are food and things that are alive
why is saying the word wolf taboo?
Wolves are dangerous, so we do not speak of the wolf. It is something too profane to discuss, and so the name itself is magic.
why is G-d taboo?
the word G-d is too sacred to discuss (at least among certain people). So people have use ways to talk about G-d, but not to say the name, since the name holds power.
why is loving your cousin taboo?
Loving one’s cousin breaks the boundary between relative and sexual partner. One’s relatives are not to be considered sexual partners, so this breaks one of the most basic taboos concerning family and sex.
how is knocking on wood a magical worldview?
Knocking on wood is a symbolic act meant to prevent “jinxing”.
This act displays a magical worldview because it shows that we believe saying something can cause jinxing (emblematic of a magical worldview), and because we can prevent said jinxing merely by rapping our knuckles against a nearby piece of wood.
why does crossing out the "M's" on campus during michigan week exemplify a magical worldview?
The magical worldview expressed in this image relies on the magical power of words and symbols, in this case the M symbolizing that team up north. The act of crossing out all Ms, with scarlet tape no less, should have an effect on The Game. There is of course no direct link between crossing out Ms and the outcome of a football match, so this clearly shows a magical worldview concerning the symbolic act of crossing out Ms in hopes of changing the outcome of a particular event.
why is the idea that toads give you warts exemplify a magical worldview?
Here we see a common perception about the law of similarity. Toads look rather warty, so by touching them, you get warts.
why is the idea that good people prosper exemplary of a magical worldview?
This is a little harder to see, but the connection is that if we believe in a magical world, then we expect good things to happen to people who are good.
Thus, if someone prospers, they must have caused that prospering in some fundamental way. If they caused it, then they are good, since they caused a good thing to happen.