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Title: Magia w potocznej narracji
Authors: Kajfosz, Jan
Keywords: Narrative folklore; Cieszyn Silesia; Relics of magic thinking
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstract: The publication deals with manifestations and relics of magical thinking in narrative folklore of Teschen Silesia. First chapters follow cognitive dimension of folklore and common texts in general. These texts are conventional in the sense that they are often repeated inside one communicative group. Habitualization based on more or less accurate repeatability of stereotypes (and corresponding experiences), motives, action scenarios, rationalizations and motivations, is the source of relatively stabile world image. Language- cultural system participates this way in constitution of experiences of its agents. Some of these experiences — in the form of text — establish itself (they become repeatable), and thus influence the language-cultural system. We can speak here of inner dialectics of discourse, which not only constitutes experiences of its agents, but is under their influence at the same time. The key concept is categorization, understood as simplification and stabilization of too complex and ever changing world through language — and not just through its concepts and pictures connected to them in consciousness (stereotypes), but through repeatable propositions and narrations. Based on concepts and images connected to them, corresponding texts (propositions and narrations) are created in common language use and vice versa. Thanks to these language elements, but thanks to other repeatable signs and their sequences as wel, all considered as part of cultural system, inner confidence can be acquired, that we have cognitive control over our environment. If repeatable narration simplifies and stablilizes reality (understood as diversity and variability in itself), than it can be taken as a specific case of categorization — case of conceptual processing of reality — and its cognitive dimension can be studied. The less the reality is accessible by immediate sensory experience, meaning it is distant in time or space (far beyond the boundaries of our Lebenswelt), the better it falls under the rule of concept, judgement and narration as its represantations. In common narrations is especially the past being manipulated and rewriten by collective consciousness, according to current values, which are connected to need to legitimize current things, situations and actions. Language and culture — inseparably interconnected semiotic systems — thus command all reality. Empiricaly apprehended experience is formed by language and culture in lesser scale than past experiences, which can’t be immediately verified or falsified. So we can speak about grades of categorization. Narration representing the past (e.g. a legend) often rather represents contemporary codes of human mind than past phenomena of our world, which it seems to speak about. Magic can be considered specific code (langue) which is brought about in the form of experiences, actions and texts (paroles). The author of this text tries to prove that not only cases described by classics (J.G. Frazer, M. Mauss, E.E. Pritchard, etc.), but also conceptions of isomorfism and cyclic time described by M. Eliade in his Myth of Eternal Return, as well as countless manifestations of vulgar medieval culture described in works of A. Gurevich or J. Le Goff, can be described as magic. He also tries to demonstrate actuality of magic thinking, using texts of contemporary pop culture. But above all he analyses and interprets, looking for manifestations and relics of magic thinking, folklore narrations collected in Teschen Silesia during second half of twentieth century. Laws of magic described by J.G. Frazer and M. Mauss are nevertheless the point of departure of this publication. The author tries to demonstrate that resemblance and contact are not only essence of magic, but that they are the essence of cognitive control of the world in general. So he concentrates on metaphores and metonymy on one side, and on iconic and indexical signs (Ch.S. Pierce) on the other side. He tries to show, that laws formulated by classics of anthropological theory of magic are sufficient for explanation of variable manifestations of magic thinking in folk culture of Teschen Silesia. The author consideres magic thinking radical form of categorization — i.e. cognitive control of the world which stems from human needs of stability and safety, especialy from the need to eliminate uncontrolable chance and to explain „everything“. The main reason why some manifestations and relics of magic thinking endure till today is heterogenity (situational character) of common thinking, which is able to unite meanings which exclude each other, without letting such paradoxes be evident.
ISBN: 978-83-226-1829-5
Appears in Collections:Książki/rozdziały (WEiNoE)

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