Polski Atlas Etnograficzny [The Polish Ethnographic Atlas]. History, achievements, research potentialities Cover Image
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"Polski atlas etnograficzny". Historia, osiągnięcia, perspektywy badawcze
Polski Atlas Etnograficzny [The Polish Ethnographic Atlas]. History, achievements, research potentialities

Author(s): Zygmunt Kłodnicki, Agnieszka Pieńczak, Joanna Koźmińska
Subject(s): Anthropology, Social Sciences, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: The Polish Ethnographic Atlas; Poland; Cieszyn; retrogressive method; ethnographic method; scientific grant; digitization and publication of data in the network; Ethnology
Summary/Abstract: In the part The Polish Ethnographic Atlas in the historical perspective, consisting of two chapters, the circumstances and methods have been presented of collecting materials for the needs of Polski atlas etnograficzny [The Polish Ethnographic Atlas] (PAE) as well as the process of making maps. The principles of ethnogeographic concluding and the retrogressive method have been also discussed. The most important works based on the analyses of ethnographic maps are presented – they concern cultural diversification of Poland, marking the Polish-German borderland and the potentialities of comparative studies with the use of the materials and maps comprised in the PAE and Atlas der deutschen Volkskunde [The Atlas of German Folklore] (ADV). The chapter The ethnogeographical and retrogressive method comprises the history of atlas works in Poland. The first Polish but at the same time European collection of ethnographic maps is Atlas kultury ludowej w Polsce [The Atlas of Folk Culture in Poland], elaborated by Kazimierz Moszyński and Jadwiga Klimaszewska on the basis of materials from the first half of the 1930s. They refer to Poland in its borders until World War II. In the same period, materials were collected in Germany for the ADV (edited by Heinrich Harmjanz and Erich Röhr), which took into account the area of Austria. A part of the territories covered by the ADV research are current Western and Northern areas of Poland – therefore, the data collected there are a precious ethnographic source, partially suitable for comparative studies.The next Polish atlas is Polski atlas etnograficzny, created and edited by Józef Gajek. At first,the works were conducted within the Polish Ethnological Society and materials were collectedby post correspondence. In 1953, the PAE was taken over by the newly opened Department ofEthnography of the Institute of Material Culture History (currently: the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology) at the Polish Academy of Sciences. Field studies were carried out in 332 villages (this number increased slightly later) and the researchers were ethnographers and ethnography students. The fast dying out of traditional culture and often insufficient materials from field studies were the reasons why soon the data from expert literature and museums started to be taken into account as well.So far, the PAE sample booklet (1958) and booklets 1–6 (1964–1981) have been published. They all concern material culture and comprise 372 maps. Many issues associated with social and spiritual culture have remained in the manuscripts of booklets 7–9. Since 1993, the volumes of „Komentarze do Polskiego Atlasu Etnograficznego” [Commentaries to the Polish Ethnographic Atlas] have been published, at first edited by Janusz Bohdanowicz and Zygmunt Kłodnicki, later also by Agnieszka Pieńczak (the caregiver of the atlas collections).What is also presented in this chapter are the problems of the cartographic technique with special focus on the dependence of the quality of maps on the nature of questions provided in the questionnaires. Special value can be attributed to the maps based on the responses to the questions concerning strictly defined artefacts or other cultural phenomena – closed questions. Open questions have brought spontaneous responses which resulted in the approximate ranges (on maps: areas of occurrence). The contents of questions are placed in map legends. The chapter Reasons of the differentiation in traditional culture of the Polish village is a presentation of the major accomplishments achieved owing to the ethnogeographic method inthe field of: reconstructing earlier stages of culture on the territories of Poland (Moszyński),its later growing diversification due to Western influences (Moszyński, Gajek, Bohdanowicz,Kłodnicki), the shaping and lasting of cultural regions which had been earlier tribal territories(Gajek, Bohdanowicz) or were formed later (Andrzej Brencz).The possibility of comparative studies with the use of PAE and ADV maps are limited because the research for the needs of the ADV was conducted only among the German and Austrian population, whereas in the case of the PAE the ethnic criterion was not applied. Moreover, both atlases differ in the research time and most of the maps have different legends.In the work Obrzędowość narodzinowa na Górnym Śląsku (izolacja położnicy). Polski atlasetnograficzny i Atlas der deutschen Volkskunde w perspektywie porównawczej [Birth rituals in Upper Silesia (isolation of the birth-giving woman). The Polish Ethnographic Atlas and Atlas der deutschen Volkskunde in the comparative perspective] (2016), Pieńczak confirmed that in some cases such comparative studies are possible provided some rigours are kept. Thisraises hope as there are already many thousands of maps in the European ethnocartographicoutput (Annex 1). A large amount of data can be subjected to statistical analysis with the useof correlation methods, which has been earlier checked by Kłodnicki in the materials of Polski atlas etnograficzny (1994).The second part of the book, “The Polish Ethnographic Atlas” in the contemporary perspective starts with the chapter Cultural heritage on the platform Digital Archives of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas. From the idea to implementation, in which the authors discuss the shaping of the concept of digitalization and sharing of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas Archives, the major assumptions and potentialities of the project implementation, and the related research results. What is more, the specificity of the PAE digital platform has been presented as well. The Research Team of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas, functioning within the Faculty of Ethnology and Education (in Cieszyn) at the University of Silesia has undertaken an innovative attempt at the elaboration, digitalization and sharing of the atlas materials (the deposit of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences). The Polish Ethnographic Atlas is the only archive of this type in Poland and it covers the whole territory of Poland. Until recently, the access to these archival sources was limited. What has become the priority for the initiators of the undertaking is the digitalization of the rich PAE archives, which is designed for many years. Its first step comprises the presentation and sharing of three unique ethnographic collections in the internet.In 2014, the implementation started of the several-years-long project „The Polish Ethnographic Atlas – scientific elaboration, electronic database, the publication of resources in the Internet” within the National Programme for the Development of Humanities. The aim was to reach a possibly broad group of hypothetical recipients, including representatives of humanities and social sciences dealing with the broadly understood cultural heritage. The undertaking was implemented by ten people, mostly employed in the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology (in Cieszyn) at the University of Silesia and in the Polish Institute of Anthropology (Warsaw) – among them the four main contractors of the project (Professor Zygmunt Kłodnicki, Ph.D. hab., Agnieszka Pieńczak, Ph.D., Edyta Diakowska-Kohut, M.A., Joanna Koźmińska, M.A.). In the team, there were other ethnologists, as well as IT specialists and a photographer specializing in digitalization of museum collections.In the first stage of the implementation, due to a large number of objects indicated for digitalization, only some were selected by three criteria. Digitalization works and the edition of digital catalogues, which took many months, concerned three large ethnographic collections, comprising over 12 100 photographs taken during field studies (1954–1971), 770 published atlas maps (1958–2013) and over 470 questionnaires dedicated to wild plants collecting, which comprised herbaria (1947–1953). All the discussed collections are worth sharing their special historical value, particularly for people interested in rural culture, and because they are the most typical of atlas activity.The financial support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and of the Faculty ofEthnology and Education at the University of Silesia enabled the establishing of the Digitalization Laboratory of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas, equipped with specialist research appliances. For indexing the atlas collections and their publication in the Internet, the web application Galeneo was used. This enabled the activation of the digital platform Digital Archives of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas (www.archiwumpae.us.edu.pl).The currently conducted atlas works mark the beginning of implementing the research concept aimed at creating a coherent, synthetic, digital collection of archival resources and at sharing them in the public interface. However, due to the large size of the PAE collections, this is a long-term activity. In the future, the atlas output will be brought together in one easily accessible collection, which will provide a precedent possibility of effective search for interesting issues within various fields of culture.In the second chapter, Anthropology in the network. A digital project of the Polish Institute ofAnthropology, the issues have been discussed concerning the condition of digital humanities in Poland in the perspective of ethnology and anthropology. The distinction between anthropology in the net and netnography has been provided. The former consist in collecting, storing and indexing (in the Internet) anthropological contents available in the traditional (offline) form.The latter, according to Robert V. Kozinets, is the scientific exploration of the internet space.What is also provided are many examples of both phenomena, which confirms the growingnumber of projects oriented towards activities in the internet space. Two projects have been described in detail – „Biblioteka Cyfrowa PIA [Digital Library of the Polish Institute of Anthropology]” (www.cyfrowaetnografia.pl) and „Polski Atlas Etnograficzny – opracowanie naukowe, elektroniczny katalog danych, publikacja zasobów w sieci Internet, etap I [The Polish Ethnographic Atlas – scientific elaboration, electronic database, publishing the resources in the Internet, stage I]” (www.archiwumpae.us.edu.pl). They are compliant withthe current classified as anthropology in the net and they constitute a significant undertakingfor the whole scientific environment. They are also an example of the collaboration betweenthe Research Team of the Polish Ethnographic Atlas (functioning at the Faculty of Ethnologyand Education of the University of Silesia in Katowice) and the Polish Institute of Anthropology.The joint studies conducted by both institutions have resulted in the open internet accessto the unique digitalized collection of 380 atlas maps, which might become the basis for manyresearch projects. What constitutes an important part of the publication are three extensive annexes, which are an effect of the atlas studies carried out for several last years. The first comprises a list of maps concerning the material culture, coming from Atlas kultury ludowej wPolsce, Polski atlas etnograficzny, and some atlases of nearby countries. The list takes into account also some available maps resulting from ethnographic works of other types. Particular attention is paid here to the maps included in diploma theses which have been written on the basis of the materials of the PAE Research Team in Cieszyn by students under the supervision of Zygmunt Kłodnicki and later of Agnieszka Pieńczak and Anna Drożdż. The second annex contains the detailed data concerning over 440 places of the PAE research network, in which a rich photographic documentation was collected in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The third annex comprises the information on over 230 places of this network in which first questionnaire studies were conducted.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-83-226-3275-8
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-83-226-3274-1
  • Page Count: 406
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: Polish