Call for Papers. MARTOR 29/2024

Dynamics of the Intangible Heritage. Shepherding

Guest Editors:

  • Dr. Carmen Mihalache (National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Romania).
  • Magdalena Andreescu (National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Romania).
  • Dr. Anamaria Iuga (National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, Romania).

Deadline for abstract submissions: 20th of February 2023.

Publication date: November 2024

The Museum of the Romanian Peasant is seeking contributions for its annual journal Martor 29/2024, on the topic of Dynamics of the Intangible Heritage. Shepherding. Martor is a peer-reviewed academic journal, established in 1996, indexed by EBSCO, Index Copernicus, CEEOL, DOAJ, AIO, and MLA International Bibliography, with a focus on cultural and visual anthropology, ethnology and museology.

Shepherding is an age-old way of life of paramount importance all over the world, but first and foremost, for communities living in the mountains. It has been heavily documented down the centuries and analyzed from various perspectives by specialists in many fields: ethnology, ethnography, anthropology, sociology and so on.

An increasing interest of the researchers in the socio-cultural and economic aspects of this occupation has been lately apparent. This is most probably a consequence of the deep changes that shepherding has been going through, with significant implications for this important segment of animal husbandry and for other connected fields. The laws which have been adapted to the European framework, the changes determined by technological progress, the division of tillage lands, the disappearance of the wool market (as wool has become a secondary product), the introduction of strict rules regarding the sanitary and veterinary conditions for the making of cheese-based products and for the well-being of the animals during transhumance, the intensified production in modern micro-farms and sheep yards are as many factors which concur in the overall transformation of this field. The number of the sheep flocks of the mountain communities, at the micro level, is decreasing and shepherds are harder and harder to find, as toiling at the stable has become an unattractive job on the background of the models and values promoted nowadays. Moreover, selling the direct products, milk/cheese, meat, or wool, requires a permanent adjustment to a dynamic context. On a different level we can notice, both in Romania and abroad, initiating activities which aim to value shepherding as cultural heritage.

Shepherding has, still, a rich repertory of specific intangible heritage, beginning with the practices peculiar to the trade and ending with the traditional ecological knowledge which refer to grazing, knowing the environment and animal husbandry, and also specific customs, such as the milk measurement, or climbing up to the mountain of the sheepfold in Spring, the Summer village parties (Nedee – in Romania), the Autumn return of sheep to the owners, and so on. All of these are still alive and topical in numerous communities, though to a lesser extent, being inherited from one generation to another by virtue of cultural transmission, proving the dynamics of tradition.

The communities keep step with the world around, in a continuous effort to adapt (practices, organizing, promoting) to the present socio-cultural and economic conditions. Let us mention just a few indicators which are relevant in this respect: aiming to increase the value of traditional products (milk, cheese, meat), the registration of protected marks is more and more common; ways of using some direct products (such as the use of wool in constructions, for the thermic and phonic isolation of walls and installations) are diversified; producers have grouped in professional associations and federations to facilitate their collaboration and first of all to make their voice heard in the dialogue with the state institutions. At the same time, the actions which add value to cultural heritage are often doubled by initiatives which plead for safeguarding as much as possible the defining elements of the life-style of shepherd communities, so much subject to changes which are sometimes radical.  

This thematic issue dedicated to contemporary shepherding practices launches an invitation mostly to researchers who have focused on the analysis of the initiatives which put the shepherding traditions at the service of sustainable development, with examples from Europe and not only. At the same time, we would like to host in the pages of our journal voices from within the communities as well, which will present from an emic perspective the changes undergone by this occupation, from the point of view of the main category of people involved in this process.


Please follow the guidelines for authors of the Martor journal:

Martor is a journal where authors are encouraged to publish experimental ethnographic research and accompany their text with high standard visual material, thus, all contributors are encouraged to use ample images to accompany their texts.

We invite contributors to send an abstract (300 words) by Monday 20th of February 2023. Final texts will be submitted on 1st of November 2023. Submissions will be in either in English or French.

Proposals, manuscripts, and other editorial correspondence should be sent to the following e-mail: