No. 34

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Culture is the sum of all (after Mihhail Lotman)

  • Mart Raudsaar

    Mart Raudsaar

    Editor-in-Chief of Riigikogu Toimetised issues 29–40

To simplify Lotman’s idea, the culture exists in all forms of human activities. When our forefathers built their log houses, they used manual construction methods that had developed over a certain period. They did it without thinking that some of these houses would be declared heritage sites one day, or that some might even be moved to the Open Air Museum. It is only since the 19th century National Awakening that we have a professional national culture, an idea that we took from the Germans. So we have a popular culture and a national culture, and one way or another we carry both inside us.

The development of culture could be compared to the development of the Estonian cuisine. I like how all the new generation chefs keep developing the Estonian cuisine. History, local materials, seasonality, and the time given to us, combine in a tried and tested, and yet in a novel and more sophisticated way, which tells us something about the continuous shaping of our national consciousness (also see Distinction by Pierre Bourdieu). We need everything, most of all we need a multitude of cultural institutions (both large and small). What is the starter of the Estonian culture? How can the government support and develop it? These were the question discussed in our traditional panel that united representatives from every parliamentary party.

Historical documents on paper have been preserved until our day, but the preservation of digital records is not that simple. Methods for this are analysed in the article on digitalisation of our culture, written by professionals from the National Library of Estonia. The question of preservation is also central to the article on the national heritage monuments of Estonia, written by Siim Raie, Director-General of the National Heritage Board.

This year, the Estonian National Museum moved to its new building. Directors of the Museum Krista Aru and Tõnis Lukas write about the background, and the new opportunities of this development.

If a community centre becomes an educational institution, its impact and role can become regional. What is the regional role of the Viljandi Culture Academy? This is discussed in a collective article by teachers of the Academy.
In her doctoral thesis, Egge Kulbok-Lattik has studied the historical development of Estonia’s cultural development, with particular focus on the development of community centres.

The topic of Estonian culture is concluded by Maarja Vaino, Director of Anton Hansen Tammsaare Museum. “We should emphasise the most important,” she writes in her essay. “The uniqueness and vitality of the Estonian culture is determined by whether it is capable to reflect the whole world by and in itself, and describe everything in Estonian.”

This issue of Riigikogu Toimetised also touches on other important questions: child care, presidential elections, security situation and international sanctions, and celebrating the centenary of the Republic of Estonia.

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