Historizing the Present?


The aims of this contribution are first to give short review of the conditions of development of the ethnographic disciplines – especially of the German variant “Volkskunde” – and of their shaping as historical sciences. Second, it’s an attempt to balance the new orientations of historical research as they have crystallized in the last two decades. Third, the present role of a “cultural history” is discussed which seems to be ambivalent: on the one hand it is characterized by growing public attention to the ethnological interpretation of the cultural and the historical process; on the other, it is characterized by problems of the current scientific as well as sociopolitical position finding. In an ethnological understanding “Historizing the Present” should mean to reconstruct that specific “ethnic paradigm” which influenced social as well as scientific self-images in past and present – and to deconstruct the ethnic discourse as a phenomenon of “politics of identity”.

How to Cite

Kaschuba, W., (1996) “Historizing the Present?”, Ethnologia Europaea 26(2), 123-136. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.855

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Wolfgang Kaschuba (Humboldt Universität)



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