‘Alternative Knowledge’ in Latvian Culture: Roots and Contexts

https://doi.org/10.22364/ms22.12 | pp. 104-108 | PDF

Zane Radzobe
University of Latvia

Abstract. The aim of the current research is to establish how alternative knowledge is represented in the latest Latvian cultural texts, how this representation compares with the texts written in previous cultural eras, and what structure of reality is characteristic of the texts. The research explores popular cultural texts in which distributors of ‘alternative knowledge’ operate (wizards, witches, servants of the devil, etc.), and the historical texts are compared with the latest yield of Latvian culture – director Uģis Olte’s film “Upurga” (2021) and Linda Nemiera’s novel “Rīgas Raganas” (2021). The research methodology is based on Richard Schechner’s understanding of social and aesthetic drama, as well as post-structural text analysis, analysing texts according to pairs of dichotomies. The research found that in the oldest texts, the alternative reality is not considered real, but represented metaphorically. The individual who is given the imagined supernatural status aspires to fit into the group. The ‘supernatural’ is most frequently associated with knowledge that an individual gradually imparts to a group. Recent texts affirm the belief in parallel realities as real, physically existing. Criticism of contemporary culture (‘reality’) is pronounced, the alternative reality gives it what it lacks (the opposition of nature vs civilization, the basis for social processes in the real world, etc.). The contrast between the individual and the group can be clearly observed, besides, the individual does not fit into the group after all, remaining isolated.

Keywords: alternative knowledge, cultural text, aesthetic performance

In: Media and Society, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Mediji un sabiedrība, 2022. Rakstu krājums. Riga, University of Latvia, 2023. 173 p.