While I do not remember who said it and on what occasion, it became my life credo. In the mids, the worlds that I had had in my head changed considerably. As a member of the research team of the international project Oral History: Fates of Those Who Survived —7 Salner ; Vrzgulova , , I began discovering the previously unknown faces of my surroundings, and I am still on this discovery trip. As an ethnologist, I meet and talk to people.

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While I do not remember who said it and on what occasion, it became my life credo. In the mids, the worlds that I had had in my head changed considerably. As a member of the research team of the international project Oral History: Fates of Those Who Survived —7 Salner ; Vrzgulova , , I began discovering the previously unknown faces of my surroundings, and I am still on this discovery trip. As an ethnologist, I meet and talk to people.

And since I am interested in their interpretations and observations of their own life stories, I am intrigued by how large historic events are reflected in personal histories. I am convinced that only through discussions is it possible to share our own private worlds and get to know each other. An open, decent, substantive, and constructive discussion — this is often the ideal that we seek to achieve. This is where we recognize the worlds of the people around us, where we evaluate, criticize, and argue; where we defend our own values and our view of the world, and try to convince others.

This is where we listen and react. I have been combining these two roles since I discuss and I explore. Kotleba in defining the political pillars of their own program.

They look innocent at first sight — being national, Christian, and social. The initiators of Forgotten Slovakia invited me to become a member of their team mainly due to my long-term scientific and activist work on the reflection of the wartime Slovak State and the Holocaust in Slovakia in the current public and political discourse. My main findings and knowledge from my participation for more than a year at local debates on extremism can be simply described as follows: citizens from different Slovak regions have insufficiently developed skills necessary for conducting an open discussion.

Their knowledge about the past is burdened with stereotypes and prejudice. They are often unable to view the historic events from several perspectives, beyond the perspective of their own reference group. The official historical narrative about the wartime period in the Slovak State and the Holocaust in Slovakia is so ambivalent that it provides room for even contradictory interpretations.

From discussions with various groups of citizens, we can observe a phenomenon that we call conflicting memories. This statement is the result of my active participation and participant observation of the debates on extremism, organized by the Forgotten Slovakia initiative.

As an ethnologist, I often work in different regions outside Bratislava. I study among other things the Holocaust phenomenon and the entire period in which it happened wartime Slovak State —45 in the social and the respectively cultural memory of the Slovak society Assmann , 15— During an informal discussion, some teachers told me that on the Monday following the elections, the school director had called them to his office, blaming them for teaching history incorrectly, and hence being responsible for the fact that some of the those pupils had voted for Kotleba.

One need not be a genius to realize that by doing so, young people expressed their discontent with the policies of the standard political parties that have long been in power. Unfortunately, they did so by giving support to a party the representatives of which have made no secret of admiring the undemocratic Ludak regime.

And what has been taught about this regime at schools since the s is that it had been responsible for the Holocaust in Slovakia, as well as for the persecution of other population groups in the country!

Hence, there are two possibilities: young people either know about this link and do not care, or they are simply not aware of it. My communication with teachers from different Slovak regions, as well as my surveys on the state of knowledge and opinions of the Slovak population on the wartime Slovak State and the Holocaust, ironically confirm that both possibilities may be correct.

This part of our past is perceived very ambiguously, and not just by the youngest generations of Slovakia. It also reflects family interpretations of this history, the recollections of the times when grandparents or grand-grandparents were doing well… However, this situation is the result of an entire set of causes and processes, with education being just one part of it.

It was at that time that I had received the offer from journalist and photographer Andrej Ban. Together, they invented a reaction to the postelection situation: the Forgotten Slovakia civic initiative, in which I was invited to participate. The first activity was the public discussion and concert Against Fascism , held symbolically in Brezno on May 8, In between the performances of the music bands, we spoke to the inhabitants of the town from the stage with appeals to not forget the victims of the Second World War and of the Holocaust in Slovakia and persecution after the suppression of the Slovak National Uprising.

We also appealed to them to not support political parties that represent extreme dangers for the country, similar to the Nazis or fascists. The square was filled with chairs in which a diverse group of audience members sat in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity.

They came mostly out of curiosity, yet they stayed and did not leave. This series continued with events in other Slovak towns — the representatives of the initiative have so far met with the citizens of 15 towns.

The team discussing as part of the Forgotten Slovakia initiative is different each time. Each of us is there as a human, a citizen, and an expert.

In the debates, we want to share our opinions on the current events in Slovakia, but we also seek to talk about the causes that have their origin in the recent past and to listen to the opinions of the audience.

The core members of the initiative are A. Karako; the other speakers include selected experts historians, ethnologists, or political scientists , a survivor of the Holocaust, and a person known from the media a singer, actor, or journalist.

We also try to invite a local activist or other personality known to the local audience to the debate. In principle, the day-trip model is standard. The morning is dedicated to meetings with secondary and elementary school pupils in a cultural center, a cinema, or another public place.

Right from the beginning he emphasizes the willingness of the speakers to reply to all questions within a decent debate, without any invectives or expressions of violence. Pupils can send their questions via mobile text messages, which has proved to work very well, and we always have enough questions. The film is an autobiographic testimony of a famous photographer who was transported to the Nazi extermination camp in Auschwitz at a young age.

She talks about her experiences and comments on her postwar problems and efforts to reconcile with her own Holocaust experience. Equally frequent is the question on whether we may again face the situation from the end of the s, whether there can be genocide in Europe or in Slovakia again.

They also ask questions related to their own firsthand experience about cohabitation with the Roma minority in their own town as well as philosophical questions where was God during the Holocaust. After the official closure of the debate, students enjoy the opportunity to continue debating with the representatives of the initiative personally and on an informal basis.

I think it would be interesting to detail their questions asked via text messages and how it affects their courage. The second part of the Forgotten Slovakia trip is an evening meeting with the town citizens. The basic structure of these meetings is similar; what is different is the composition of the audience, which influences the content and the form of the debate.

People often come to the meeting according to the speakers whose names are announced in advance. If we have Roma activists or Roma journalists among the speakers, then there are more Roma people in the audience such as in Detva.

The topics raised at each public meeting can be split into several areas. The first one concerns the clarification of terms: what is extremism and who is an extremist; what extremism means in politics; and why it is dangerous.

Or we talk about the nondemocratic regimes in Slovakia in the 20th century. Since there is always someone who has survived the Holocaust at each discussion, a part of the debate is dedicated to the wartime Slovak State and the Holocaust in Slovakia.

Of course, we also talk about the current situation in Slovakia and Europe. People express their concerns and fears about the migration wave from Syria and Africa, as well as their anger and dissatisfaction with the unresolved domestic corruption scandals and causes. According to the manner of formulation of questions and arguments, it is easy to deduce the opinions they identify with and whose fans they are.

Another big topical area concerns daily life issues, local topics such as high unemployment, uncooperative citizens of a town, district, or nearby settlement, as well as positive examples of cohabitation or the solution of problematic situations presented by local activists or personalities. I seek to understand local society and its problems through debates.

It is about capturing the value orientation of the people involved in the discussions, as well as the causes that influence their opinions. Together with Cliford Geertz, we attempt to carry out a cultural analysis of the local population sample, guess the meaning of their speeches, and formulate for myself what they actually try to convey to us Geertz, , During field research, I usually assume the role of the listener or observer or the role of the guide through the dialogue.

During the Forgotten Slovakia debates, I act as their representative, which is a new experience to me. This attempt of mine to interpret public expressions and to analyze shared reality within the discussions of the Forgotten Slovakia civic initiative is more exceptional than common. I have outlined my position in the foregoing discussion — I submit my expert knowledge and skills to my civic ambition.

I enter into discussions with my fellow citizens, becoming familiar with their value orientation and preferences first hand. I try to explain to them why it is dangerous to support an extremist political party and what consequences it may have on our common future and the character of the whole society.

Now, however, I shall elaborate on the regional specifics of the discussion meetings by describing a model discussion and its basic features. The public space of a town — the hall of a cinema or of a cultural center — becomes the place of the voluntary meeting of various groups of people.

Their motivations, value orientations, and aims are diverse. The members of the Forgotten Slovakia civic initiative act as initiators of a common discussion on a predetermined topic.

During the discussion, they often act as mediators between the different groups of town citizens. Initially, the representatives of the first group attempted to act as part of a legitimate political alternative. One thing is evident — they refer to what was said in the previous town, wishing to add or explain things. The second group of actors — people sharing similar values as the representatives of the initiative — discusses specific situations and reacts to arguments, questions, and the speeches of the debaters on site.

The most numerous group of people is usually silent. What does the exchange of opinions and attitudes indicate? What I commonly observe among local debaters is that they are not accustomed to publicly formulating their own opinions and talking openly in front of a broader audience. Many of them are unable to hold a discussion with people who have a different opinion. Such confrontation is unusual to them, and from time to time, they do not handle it and leave the place of the debate. Smooth communication is also complicated by the fact that the representatives of the civic initiative are perceived as foreigners, as people who have a different life experience than the locals.

It reminds me of a conflict of the center, the capital city, with the local people who feel like they are on the periphery. Where have you been until now? Have you come to preach to us from your Bratislava feedboxes? Who is paying for this Jewish theater of yours? Many local people are unable to understand that we come to discuss with them from our own will, that nobody sends us, that nobody is paying us, and that we are not politicians.

The discussions are accompanied by an emotional behavior that has its roots in the problematic daily reality of the local debaters. Such moments clearly show the extent of the conflict in terms of the value orientations and preferences. We search for words and arguments to understand the reality in the same way.

It is sometimes very complicated. Our perception of the notions of democracy, freedom personal freedom, freedom of expression , and their meanings is different, and we have a different idea of what it means to live a good and happy life.

During these debates, I realize that people in Slovakia have little knowledge about history and, additionally, that they equal history with their personal or family historical experience.

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The aim of this article is to problematize the concept of school culture both as a concept and as a subject of investigation. It deals with the historical roots of this concept and the fact that it is shrinking—a consequence of the managerial imperatives of effectiveness and accountability in education. School culture, in relation to the quality of schools and the quality of education, has become the subject of audits, arrived at through a developed network of standardisation in education, testing and evaluation. The methodology of evaluation currently lending particular substance to school culture, however, generates different methodological perspectives on investigating school culture and thus research is becoming an instrument of political power. One way to do this is to employ ethnographic approaches in research into schools and to understand school culture as a system of texts.

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Geertz - pirate copy. Ellsworth, etc. February 18, , pp. Interview with? Sabtu, 10 Maret , pp.

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