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The Ritual Year Working Group // CALL FOR PAPERS


Since 1950, the world’s urban population has continued to grow as a proportion of the total population, increasing more than 500% in 65 years. In 2017, the proportion of urban populations grew to 54% and the United Nations’ World Urbanization Prospects projects that the percentage of population residing within urban areas will surpass 65% by the year 2050. The nations of Europe are among the countries with the highest rates of urbanization. Thirty-six European states have urbanization rates greater than the world’s average rate of 54%. Urban areas have been “melting pots” of cultures, traditions and rituals for millennia. Cities attract people not only from rural areas, but also from other parts of the world, as cities tend to be centres of exchange, trade and industry. Rapid changes in communications, ease of transportation, increased migration and the centralization of populations into cities in the past century have magnified the melting pot effect. Social scientists today no longer are confronted with the challenge of identifying patterns within homogenous societies, rather they are faced with the multiple tasks of mapping and understanding interactions within increasingly blended, heterogeneous urban societies. As populations migrate from rural to urban areas and from nation to nation, they bring with them traditional rituals and often, due to the change in the social and environmental landscape, adapt these rituals to their new home. Thus, City Rituals contain both traditional and newly formed aspects. This conference seeks to examine the old and the new, the unchanging and the changing nature of rituals, their content and their role in the urban societies of Europe and beyond.
For the 2018 conference of The Ritual Year Working Group, we ask ethnologists, anthropologists, sociologists and scholars in related fields to reflect on the following questions and topics in relation with the ritual year:
• The ritual year in the city (life cycle customs, calendric customs, other customs);
• Differences and similarities between the ritual year of multicultural urban and traditional rural societies;
• Religious versus non-religious rituals in the city;
• Urban holidays, celebrations and ceremonies;
• Urban feasts, festivals, events, carnivals;
• Cityscape before-during-after the celebration;
• Advertising city celebrations (media channels, actors, implications);
• Actors of city celebrations (organizers, performers, spectators, inhabitants);
• City celebrations and their multiple implications (political, social, economic, religious);
• The use of rituals in city planning and place marketing;
• The use of public urban space in the performance of rituals;
• Any other subject connected to the ritual year.

Please submit the title of your paper, an abstract of no more than 250 words, together with your name, academic affiliation, postal address and e-mail to
A confirmation message will be sent to you upon arrival, if you do not receive a confirmation within 24 hours of your submission, please resubmit.
The papers must be written and presented in English or French.
The conference papers will be published in a volume (as part of The Ritual Year Working Group’s yearbook series).

Romanian Academy (Casa Academiei - The House of the Academy)
Calea 13 Septembrie nr.13
050711 Bucharest
44°25'20.6"N 26°05'13.6"E

In the series of events organized by the Romanian Academy (Bucharest, Romania) on the occasion of the Centenary of the Great Union and the end of The First World War, the Institute of Sociology will host the 2018 Ritual Year Working Group’s conference.
Institute of Ethnography and Folklore (Romanian Academy), Institute of South-East European Studies (Romanian Academy) and the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant are co-partners in the organization of this event.
Scientific Committee: Irina Sedakova, Laurent Sébastien Fournier, Irina Stahl, Tatiana Minniyakhmetova, Mare Kõiva, Jurij Fikfak, Tobias Boos, Aigars Lielbārdis (The Ritual Year Working Group, SIEF).
Local Committee: the local conference coordinator, Irina Stahl (Institute of Sociology), will be assisted by team members from the co-partner organizations.

Basic conference fee 75 euros (including conference materials, coffee breaks, half-day city tour and publication).
Full conference fee 95 euros (including festive dinner, conference materials, coffee breaks, half-day city tour and publication).
An optional full day excursion, outside of Bucharest, is scheduled for Saturday, 10 November 2018 (price and further details will be communicated at a later date).

The organizers will not be able to offer any financial support to the participants. Participants are entirely responsible for any travelling and accommodation expenses.

Submission of papers by 30 April 2018.
Notification of acceptance or rejection by 15 May 2018.
Registration deadline will be communicated at a later date.

The conference is scheduled to take place during 7, 8 and 9 of November 2018.
On the 9th of November, the conference programme will include a half-day city tour and the visiting of the Radu Vodă Monastery, where the participants will assist at the celebration of Saint Nektarios (a Greek saint canonized in 1961, and introduced to the local, Romanian community in early 2000s).
A full day excursion outside of Bucharest is scheduled for Saturday, 10 November 2018.
If you can stay one extra day, we promise we will make it worthwhile.

The closest hotels to the conference venue are the following:
• 50-60 euros/night
Hotel Hanu Berarilor 3* (1.1 km to the conference venue, 15 min walk)
Hotel Ibis Bucharest Palatul Parlamentului City Centre 3* (1.2 km to the conference venue, 15 min walk)
Volo Hotel 3* (1.5 km to the conference venue, 20 min walk)
• 60-80 euros/night
Hotel Venezia 4* (1.7 km to the conference venue, 22 min walk)
Hotel Parliament 4* (1.1 km to the conference venue, 14 min walk)
• 150 euros/night
JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel 5* (750 m to the conference venue, 9 min walk)

Rental apartments are also available in the area and can be booked via and

Booking several months in advance is strongly advised due to ongoing Great Union centenary celebrations.

Licensed cabs can be ordered upon arrival at the Henri Coandă Airport in Bucharest. The cost of a fare to the city centre is about 10 euros. More information will follow, after acceptance of papers.


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