During Easter 2013, under the auspices of the International Council of Traditional Music study group for ethnochoreology, a group of international researchers participated in a fieldwork trip in the village of Svinița, in the Danube gorge. This visit was initiated to coincide with viewing the custom of ‘Joc de pomană’ and included participant observation of Easter customs and the evening social dances (bals). This paper focuses on observations and interviews made during this research trip and looks at how locals portrayals of their identity shifted depending on the interviewer and the situation and consequently asks whether individuals construction of their ‘identity’ is connected, or independent to, their participation in current cultural practices? It draws on concepts of positionality (Sheppard 2002) and identities that can be situational, shifting and multiple (see Barth (1969), Wilson and Hastings, (1998:13), Pistrick, (2008:358)) depending on the situation or the identity of the interlocutors. It suggests that a local conception of identity (or an ‘identity focussed on difference’) can remain closely linked to a notion that the community’s ancestry is ‘different’ or set apart from the inhabitants of the surrounding area, even in the situation that the “culture” has, and continues to, exchange and merge with the surrounding cultural practices.
Mellish, Liz (2014). “An outsider’s view of an interethnic community in Banat: culture and identity in the village of Svinița.” European Review of Applied Sociology, volume 7, no 8. Pages 16–25. West University of Timișoara: Timișoara, Romania.ISSN-L 2286–2102 http://www.eras.socio.uvt.ro/?journal=eras&page=article&op=view&path=74