Jó­zsef Lisz­ka: Between two Coasts … The Posi­tion and Role of the Folk­lore Cul­ture in one of the Impact Zones of Europe

The study deals with three top­ic­s: first­ly what is the Hun­gar­i­an folk­lore cul­ture in the Hun­gar­i­an com­mon knowl­edge; sec­ond­ly how, due to what outer and inner influ­ence, process did this cul­ture evolved to such form that we got to know in the 20th cen­tu­ry, and/or we thought we got to know, and third­ly what role does the Hun­gar­i­an folk­lore cul­ture play in Euro­pean con­tex­t.

Folk­lore cul­ture is con­sid­ered one of the most impor­tant insti­tu­tions of nation­al exis­tance, and medi­um of ancien­t, nation­al sings, and char­ac­ter­is­tic­s. At the same time sci­ence is aware of the fact that except for the lan­guage in the Hun­gar­i­an folk­lore cul­ture there is no such phe­nom­e­non that would be known in the whole Hun­gar­i­an lan­guage field and only in the Hun­gar­i­an lan­guage field. The other extreme is rep­re­sent­ed by those view­points that com­pre­hend folk­lore cul­ture as such sub-­­cul­ture that builds from cul­ture ele­ments crum­bled away from the “high cul­ture”, and from this “waste” can show at most val­ues of local and only par­tial impor­tance, and that deal with ethnog­ra­phy as with “light ope­ra”.
Well, in fact both view­points (the enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly affirm­ing and the rigid­ly reject­ing) can be orig­i­nat­ed from the not know­ing (or sur­face know­ing) of the essence of folk­lore cul­ture and tak­ing no account of the results of ethnog­ra­phy. Folk­lore cul­ture is a his­tor­i­cal phe­nom­e­non, that from one hand means that it is form­ing and chang­ing con­stant­ly, enrichen­ing with new ele­ments (form­ing them to its own pic­ture), while oth­ers sim­ply reject­s. Over­es­ti­mat­ing or ignor­ing its role is not right.
We can­not under­stand the folk­lore cul­ture and the ethno­graph­ic phe­nom­e­na of a given nation with­out know­ing the cul­ture of neigh­bour­ing nations and com­par­ing exam­i­na­tion. Besides all this is one of the mis­sions of Euro­pean eth­nol­o­gy.
It can be explained from the point of view of sci­en­tif­ic his­to­ry, but it can­not be rea­soned that our ethno­graph­ic expe­ri­ence (and in fact not just our) iden­ti­fies spread­ing ter­ri­to­ry of „our folk­lore cul­ture” with the Hun­gar­i­an lan­guage ter­ri­to­ry (and in fact the „na­tion­al” folk­lore cul­ture with the lan­guage expan­sion of the given eth­ni­cal-­na­tion­al group). From one hand it is evi­dent that the folk­lore cul­ture of a par­tic­u­lar eth­nic group is gen­er­al­ly not uni­fied, it con­sists of mo­re small­er and big­ger basic units – that dif­fer from each other – and at the same time con­nect to each other like mosaic­s. On the other hand cer­tain cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na (we have to admit that the most!) strech over lan­guage bor­der­s, and depend­ing on the etnic group, cre­ate cul­tures and cul­ture cir­cles that are con­nect­ed to each oth­er. Thus, in our case it would be bet­ter to talk for exam­ple about the folk­lore cul­ture of the Carpathi­an bas­in, that has cer­tain region­al, smal­l-­­coun­try – but no or by all means eth­ni­cal (lan­guage!) – defined sub-­­groups (for exam­ple Pan­non reg­ion, Upper Land, Low Land, etc.).