Construction and Consumption of the Past.


This paper deals with problems in the type of cultural research that is often called the (new) "little history". One of the things that characterizes this genre is an interest in the close description of ordinary people's everyday life and conceptual world, and dissociation from the so-called "grand" old theories. The article takes its point of departure in central parts of the work of Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, but works by Carlo Ginzburg and Natalie Zemon Davis are also considered. It is argued that there is not necessarily any conflict between theoretical structural studies and cultural studies. This problem is discussed in the light of Umberto Eco's treatment of theoretical issues in relation to empirical forms in the novel The Name of the Rose. Here the two dimensions are "united" in the course of practice by the very fact that the author separates them conceptually. He makes them refer to two different levels, and looks at one by means of the other.

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Christiansen, P. O., (1987) “Construction and Consumption of the Past.”, Ethnologia Europaea 18(1), 5-24. doi:


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Palle Ove Christiansen (University of Copenhagen)



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