2003/1 Summaries


Toe-eigening van volkskundige verschijnselen: enkele voorbeelden uit de historiografie van de volkskunde in Vlaanderen (circa 1880-1930)
Summary: “Appropriation” and its usefulness in folklore
In this contribution the author checks the usefulness of the concept “appropriation” (in Dutch: toe-eigening) as defined by Frijhoff in 1997. Appropriation is the attribution of a meaning (personal and group-linked interpretation) to cultural phenomena after an experience of surprise, alienation or illegally taking possession of. The author works out how in Flanders during the period 1830-1930 appropriation processes took place in the field of some folkloristic topics such ad: popular medicine, superstition, popular devotion, puppet shows and popular art.



Toe-eigening en de taal der dingen. Vraag- en uitroeptekens bij een stimulerend cultuurhistorisch concept in het onderzoek naar de materiële cultuur
Summary: Appropriation of the language of things. Question marks and exclamation marks with a stimulating  cultural historical concept in the study of material culture
This article illustrates some of the methodological and heuristic difficulties historians of material culture have to overcome in order to apply the appropriation concept in their field of study. Especially the abundant probate inventories have to be dealt with extreme caution. Yet, they sometimes reveal an invaluable vocabulary sensitive to the consumer attitudes towards objects. In addition, appropriation might also be a misleading concept. The question to what extent symbolic meaning is also shaped by material constraints will have to be solved, as is suggested by the cultural changes accompanying the arrival of hot drinks. Moreover, in the end, decoding mechanisms of appropriation is not the ultimate goal, only the beginning of a more ambitious program of reconstructing and explaining culture as a process.



Toe-eigeningsstrategieën bij stedelijke en nationale identiteitsvorming in de kunst- en handelsmetropool Antwerpen: de negentiende-eeuwse Rubenscultus

Summary : The 19th century Rubens cult in Antwerp. Strategies of appropriation of municipal and national  identity forming in the metropolis of art and culture
Research into the Antwerp Rubens cult, with the raiding of the statue of Rubens (1826-1843) and the Rubens festivities of 1840 and 1877 as a key factor, has made obvious that appropriation as a collective strategy played an important role in the process of image and identity building in the city of Antwerp in the 19th century.
Thus the appropriation to the past appeared to be a vital instrument in the development of a municipal self-image; the Antwerp political, intellectual and cultural elite after all fell back on the 16th and 17th century artistic and commercial glory, in order to nationally and internationally promote the position and the power of their municipality, and so also of themselves. The 19th century self-image of Antwerp as a metropolis of art and commerce was an ambitious perspective that took definite shape between 1835 and 1863, and like each self-image originated on the basis of the perception of the past and of the nowadays needs and challenges.
Furthermore outsiders were supposed to confirm and spread the propagated image. Appropriation was also of a great importance in the recognition and acceptance of this self-image created by several municipal subgroups. As well in 1840 as in 1877  the existing ideological, social and linguistic splits appeared to be a not insurmountable obstacle for the development of a common identity feeling. Whether and to which extent this municipal self-consciousness expressed itself in the everyday behaviour of the Atwerp population could by no way be traced  back on the basis of the existing source material. The Antwerp population, however, appeared to be insufficiently qualified or prepared to add the desired lustre to the propagated self-image in 1840 as well as in 1877. Eventually on municipal level appropriation also worked as a kind of mutual strengthening mechanism between local and national consciousness. The raising of the statue of Rubens and the Rubens festivities of 1840 and 1877 were municipal activities which first and foremost aimed at promoting the municipal interests, but they as greatly contributed to the identification of the Belgian state and the dissemination of the national consciousness.



Ieder zijn eigen verleden. De nationale feesten en de cultus van de septemberdagen van 1830 (1830-1914)
Summary: A past of their own for everyone. The national celebrations and the cult of the 1830 September days (1830-1914)
The young Belgian nation tried to shape and popularize her past during the national celebrations. The own past formed an essential unit of the national identity and was supposed to legitimize the existence of a nation-state. The cult of the 1830 revolution, considered both as an end and a highlight of national history, was given a prominent place.
By the end of the 19th century also the Walloon movement, the Flemish movement and the socialists focused on  the 1830 struggle for freedom. The battle for the heritage of the September days could start.



De fabricatie van een tekst. Toe-eigeningsmechanismen in tekst en traditie van pseudo-Ruusbroecs vanden twaelf dogheden
Summary: Composing a text. Appropriation mechanisms in text and tradition of pseudo-Ruusbroecs ‘Twaalf  Deugden” (Twelve Virtues)
In this article the sphere of influence in which the devotional text “Twaalf Deugden” originated is reconstructed. Special attention is given to the mechanisms of appropriation that were active at the time of the coming about and the processing of the text. Godfried Wevel is sent out by Groenendael to form the new Eemsteyn foundation. In the scope of this mission he writes “Twaalf Deugden”. The “minor” author Wevel found inspiration with two great authorities. He constructed “Twaalf Deugden” according to the pattern of the genealogy of virtues in Ruusbroec’s “Geestelijke Bruiloft” (Spiritual Wedding). Halfway the text Wevel abandoned his starting point and, without mentioning any source material, picks up Eckhart’s  “Geestelijke Onderwijzingen” (Speritual Teachings) as a guideline. This technique of appropriation leads to the fact that in “Twaalf Deugden” two mystic paradigms silently  intermix. Lexical analysis shows that the so-called “dynamic” Groenendael mysticism, which Wevel was supposed to disseminate at Eemsteyn by the introduction of “Twaalf Deugden” is undermined by terms expressing Eckhart’s essentiality mysticism. “Twaalf Deugden” was often copied in the circles of modern devotion. So unexpectedly “Twaalf Deugden” became a vehicle for the dissemination of Eckhart’s range of ideas, anyhow highly difficult since 1329. Eckhart’s ideas were as well in Groenendael as within the modern devotion contested and kept quiet.



Toe-eigening als vorm van culturele dynamiek
Summary : Appropriation as a form of cultural dynamics
Culture is the core of present folklore. It is, however, a concept difficult to set and even more difficult to define. Repeatedly other definitions of culture have taken root, such as nowadays the concept “(cultural) heritage.”
Yet this concept entails the risk that only the culture of the incumbent group, not that of the newcomers or any sort of mixed forms, is taken into account, to define the process of identity, one of the most important aims of culture. So in this contribution – an introduction to a masterclass in Antwerp on this topic – we stand up for a more dynamic concept of culture which is open and can encompass all forms of culture transfer and culture transformation. Something or other is illustrated by examining the possibilities of using the concept appropriation as a means to get a better hold on the way the sectors of history deal with culture and the significance of it.