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Aneta Strzemżalska

(University of Warsaw, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Poland)

Azerbaijani Meykhana: Cultural Policy and Local Actors’ Agenda


Meykhana is spoken word improvisation, verbal recitatives, and an example of a musical genre in the promotion of which the state and society find their common goals. Based on the results of field research, and available sources, I pay attention to the relationship between what is offered by the government and how meykhana is practised and perceived by ordinary people. Taking into account the everyday practices of local players and using such an aspect of nationalism as folklorisation, I examine how the interplay between formal and informal approaches can be used in the study of the national building process. This paper contributes a case study to the rich body of literature on the political dimension of informality and nationalism by analysing how local players have a concrete impact on top-level politics, including cultural policy.

Short biography

Aneta Strzemżalska does research in Cultural Anthropology of the state, nationalism and ethnic issues. Conducted long-term field research in the Caucasus region; they resulted in numerous scientific and journalistic publications.