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The second meeting of the research and academic group

Second meeting: what was discussed at the meeting. Reporting activity. Frederick Barth, Rogers Brubaker - Ethnic Groups or Ethnicity Without Groups?

The second meeting of the research and academic group "Languages for Describing the Other in Early Modern Europe: Social Contexts and Repertoires of Interpretation" was held on January, 29, 2020. 

At the beginning of the session, Feliks Levin has presented a paper "Cognitive approaches to medieval ethnicity” in which it was stressed that definition of ethnicity as a worldview, a system of classification of the social world enables to put other research questions to early modern ethnography such as: "how was groupness constructed in the early modern time?". 

After the presentation the participants of the research group have discussed two works on the methodology of research into ethnicity — Frederik Barth’s article from the symposium "Ethnic groups and boundaries" and chapter 3 from Rogers Brubaker’s "Ethnicity without groups". The research group have considered the necessity to focus on the boundaries and strategies of distinction while studying ethnicity. Furthermore, the significance of boundaries in the Middle ages was exemplified by the connection between descent and access to law which exploited gentile criteria. While arguing over Brubaker’s chapter, the participants have emphasized the prospects of using non-groupist approach to ethnicity. Such an approach enables to concentrate on the mechanism of describing of social experience in ethnic terms. It was highlighted that discursive and cognitive approach to ethnicity are complementary. Moreover, the research group have considered how methodology devised by Brubaker can be applied to early modern ethnography asknowledge