New issue of Ethnologia Europaea: Silence in Cultural Practices

Ethnologia Europaea 46:2 (2016)
Journal of European Ethnology

Ethnologia Europaea is edited by Marie Sandberg and Monique Scheer

Special issue editors:
Elo-Hanna Seljamaa and Pihla Maria Siim

Contributions to this special issue take a back-door approach to the study of cultural practices by exploring various modes and forms of silence and silencing in daily life. Joining Gregory Bateson and scholars inspired by his concept of noncommunication, the articles examine situations and circumstances where communication is avoided, or deemed undesirable, because it would somehow alter the nature of the idea, relationship or situation in question. Authors also draw attention to the unspoken and the unspeakable as they emerge in ethnographic fieldwork and the research process, discussing the challenges of doing fieldwork on silence and pushing the boundaries of silence as an analytical category.

Silence emerges from this special issue as a productive and performative force constitutive of agency, power and the margins of society and language. Case studies from Estonia, Finland and the north-western and north-eastern part of European Russia trace the roles silence plays in "doing old age" (Karoliina Ojanen), "doing family" (Pihla Maria Siim), and sustaining co-existence in societies divided by ethnic lines (Elo-Hanna Seljamaa). By exploring the symbolic meanings of silence among Evangelicals, two articles (Tuija Hovi and Piret Koosa) add to the growing body of scholarship that questions the fundamental role of language in Evangelical Christianity and seeks to broaden perspectives on understanding conversion.

This volume also includes one open issue contribution by Anne Eriksen, who on the basis of British and Nordic examples explores the entangled genealogies of the notions of history and tradition as the twin products of a uniquely modern temporality.


Elo-Hanna Seljamaa and Pihla Maria Siim:
Where Silence Takes Us, if We Listen to It

Karoliina Ojanen
Silences, Old Age and Institutionalized Care

Elo-Hanna Seljamaa
Silencing and Amplifying Ethnicity in Estonia. An Ethnographic Account from Tallinn

Tuija Hovi
Self-Fulfilling Words and Topics Not to Be Touched Upon. Noncommunication in Neo-Charismatic Rhetoric

Piret Koosa
Evangelical Silence in a Komi Village

Pihla Maria Siim
Family Stories Untold. Doing Family through Practices of Silence

Open issue contribution

Anne Eriksen:
Entangled Genealogies. History and the Notion of Tradition

Printed journal


About the journal

Ethnologia Europaea is a lively and interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal with a focus on European cultures and societies. It carries material of great interest not only for European ethnologists and anthropologists but also for sociologists, social historians and scholars involved in cultural studies.

An impression of the areas covered by the journal is reflected in some of the thematic topics of the issues recently published: Muslim Intimacies (2016), Rage, Anger and other Don’ts (2015), Foodways Redux (2013), Imagined Families in Mobile Worlds (2012), Irregular Ethnographies (2011), Performing Nordic Spaces (2010).

More info:

Selected back issues are available open access at Also available online through research library subscriptions. Please check with your local library.testetesetste