Mihai Pop

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Mihai Pop
Born November 18, 1907(1907-11-18)
Glod, Maramures area, Romania
Died October 7, 2000(2000-10-07) (aged 92)
Bucharest, Romania

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Mihai Pop (1907 – 2000) was a Romanian ethnologist. He won the Herder Prize in 1967, and he was a member of the Romanian Academy.


(by Gail Kligman, "Mihai Pop", 1984, listed below).

In 1907, Mihai Pop was born in Glod, a tiny, desolate village in Maramures, today situated eight kilometres from a cement road, the nearest indication that the "modern” world is indeed accessible. It is more difficult to imagine how Pop made his way from this isolated enclave to Bucharest than it is to later discover him travelling from the Romanian capital to the other capitals of Eastern Europe. Travel is a valued tool of the anthropologist. Fortunately, pop's curiosity and insight insured that he continued to travel throughout his life, broadening his own knowledge and contributing to the understanding of the complexities of culture. His first ethnographic experience was in Fundul Moldovii in 1928 when, as a member of D. Gusti's rural sociology group, Pop studied problems of oral literature. It was during this trip that his collaboration with the musicologist C. Brailoiu began. Many field trips ensued. Another important field research occurred in 1939; then Pop worked with the sociologist A. Golopentia in Plasa Dambonic, Arges, on socio-economic differentiation among villages. In between these years, pop found time to study in Czechoslovakia where he was exposed to the Prague School of Linguistics. He was particularly influenced by R. Jacobson and P. Bogatyrev, and structural-functional analysis of folklore.

The 40s were very significant for him: his doctorate was finished in 1942; in 1949, he and the ethnomusicologist Hari Brauner collaborated to establish the Institute of Ethnography and Folklore in Bucharest. Pop remained director of the Institute from 1950-74. When asked to comment, in retrospect, upon his influence on Romanian anthropology, ethnography, and folklore, Mihai Pop — with a characteristic twinkle in his eye — responded: "Nimica-ca nu ma asculta nimeni." (None — because no one listens to me.) In actuality, under his guidance, the Institute flourished, and became one of the finest ethnographic institutes on the continent. Pop initiated ambitious programs for fieldwork, procedures for the collection of data and the organization of the archives were established; to these ends, pop introduced the usage of technical aids such as film and tape. He was also responsible for the systematization of data, the development of typologies for popular literature and music (tales and ballads, in particular). Along more analytic lines. Pop encouraged new approaches to the study of social processes and meaning; he stimulated the study of folklore as a cultural act, incorporating semiotic perspectives into the interpretive process. Throughout, Pop generously shared his access to the international scholarly literature with members of the Institute, and with his students. (Pop's linguistic facilities have contributed to his breadth of knowledge; he is conversant in French, Italian, English, German, Hungarian and all of the Slavic languages.) He succeeded in attracting foreign researchers to Romania, opening doors for Romanian colleagues, as well as for us.

But being director of the Institute did not curtail his academic pursuits. In 1963, Pop became a Professor at the University of Bucharest. He was also an editor of Revista de Etnografie si Folclor until 1980. Subsequent international appointments have included: resident fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies of the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford; corresponding member of the Austrian Anthropological Society; member of the executive board of the International Association for Semiotic Studies; member of the executive board of the International Center for Semiotic and Linguistic Studies, Urbino; President of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore. The sojourn at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies was significant to Pop's ongoing intellectual development. There he became familiar with American socio-cultural anthropology. Later on, due to the continued influence of Jakobson, and of Levi-Strauss, he explored French structuralism. Pop has also been a visiting professor of anthropology at the University of Marburg; at Berkeley, 1974; Michigan, 1975; the College de France, Paris, 1976; and U.C.L.A., 1984.

Pop's bibliography attests to the diversity of his pursuits. More recent additions include two books, one on Romanian oral literature (Pop si Ruxandoiu, Folclor Literar Romanesc, Bucuresti: editura didactica si pedagogica, 1976), and one on traditional customs (Obiceiuri tradiţionale româneşti, Bucuresti, 1976). The latter reflects Pop's most enduring personal and professional interest spawned in the '30s by reading Bogatyrev's Rites et Croyan ces: the study of calendar and life-cycle rituals. Presently, he is interested in the "symbolic meaning of ritual structures and signs" with special emphasis on funeral customs and ancester worship in Romania, and Southeastern Europe in general. Other primary concerns are semiotics and text analysis.




Dâmbovnicul. O plasă din sudul judeţului Argeş, Bucharest, 1942, PDF.
  • D, with Anton Golopenţia, Dâmbovnicul. O plasă din sudul judeţului Argeş. Câteva rezultate ale unei cercetări monografice întreprinse în 1939, Comunicare la Academia Română în sedinţa din 9 mai 1941, published in: Sociologie Românească, ANUL IV, no. 7-12 iulie-decemvrie 1942, Bucharest: Institutul de Ştiinţe Sociale ale României, 1942, pp 1-17, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG; reprint, in: Anton Golopenţia, Opere complete, Vol. 1: "Sociologie", Bucharest: Editura Enciclopedică, 2002, pp. 374-400; reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 331-357; reprint, in: Cornel Constantinescu (ed.), Satul românesc: trecut - prezent - viitor: 75 de ani de la cercetarea sociologică a plasei Dâmbovnic, Piteşti: Editura Universităţii din Piteşti, 2014, pp 9-45, PDF, IA, ARG. Excerpts
  • SP, with T. Vianu and Al. Rosetti (eds.), Studii de poetică şi stilistică, Bucharest: Editura pentru Literatură, 1966.
Îndreptar pentru culegerea folclorului, Bucharest, 1967, PDF.
  • ÎC, Îndreptar pentru culegerea folclorului, Bucharest: Casa Centrală a Creaţiei Populare, 1967, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG, reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 95-150.
Obiceiuri tradiţionale româneşti, Bucharest, 1976, PDF.
Obiceiuri tradiţionale româneşti, Bucharest, 1999, PDF.
  • OR, Obiceiuri tradiţionale româneşti, Bucharest: Institutul de Cercetări etnologice și dialectologice, 1976, 192 p, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG; revised ed., Rodica Zane editor, Bucharest: Univers, 1999, 232 p, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG. Excerpts
  • FB, editor, Folclor din Ţara Loviştei (Boişoara), Râmnicu Vâlcea: Casa creaţiei populare, 1970, 207 p.
  • FL, with Pavel Ruxăndoiu, Folclor literar românesc, Bucharest: Didactică şi Pedagogică, 1976, 368 p.; 2nd edition, 1978, 380 p.; 3rd editon, 1991, 303 p.
  • ZL, with Georgeta Stoica, Zona etnografică Lăpuş, Bucharest: Sport-Turism, 1984.

Writings published posthumously

  • FR, Folclor românesc, eds. and intro Nicolae Constantinescu, Adrian Stoicescu and Rodica Zane, Bucharest: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti, 2007 ff.
    • vol. III, 2007, 192 p.
    • vol. IV, 2017, 200 p. [forthcoming]
  • P, Vreau şi eu să fiu revizuit. Publicistica din anii 1937-1940, texts and editor Zoltán Rostás, Bucharest: Paideia, 2010. Excerpts

Selected articles, essays, reviews, intros

  • "Contribuţii la studiul limbilor speciale din Cornova: păsăreasca", Arhiva pentru ştiinţa şi reforma socială, An 10, nr. 1-4, 1932, pp 443-446.
  • "Buletinul laboratorului de fonetică experimentală", Sociologie românească, An 1, nr. 2, Februarie 1936, pp 42-43, PDF, IA, ARG, IA/jpeg. Recenzie/Review.
  • "Un plan de cercetare linquistică [lingvistică]", Sociologie românească, An 1, nr. 3, Martie 1936, pp 28-29, PDF, IA, ARG, IA/jpeg. Recenzie/Review.
  • "Semnele formării unei noi burghezii bucureştene", Sociologie românească, An 2, nr. 1, Ianuarie 1937, pp 27-28.
  • "Pamietniki Chlopow. (Memoriile țăranilor). Warssawa, 1935", Sociologie românească, An 2, nr. 2-3, Februarie-Martie 1937, p 139, IA/jpeg.
  • "Căluşarii români la Londra și realitatea folclorică a Bucureștilor", Sociologie românească, An 3, nr. 10-12, Octombrie-Decembrie 1938, pp 561-564; reprint in: FR, vol. II, pp 10-16; reprint 'Călușarii... - studiu din 1938 al prof. univ. dr. Mihai Pop', intro dr. Al. Dobre, text by Doina Prisecaru, Bucharest: CCVTCP Bucharest, col. "Restituiri", 1998.
  • "Problemele şi perspectivele folcloristicii noastre", Revista de Folclor, An 1, nr. 1-2, 1956, pp 9-35; reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 1-32.
  • "Recomandările Congresului Internațional de Folclor în materie de terminologie, colecţii şi învățământ folcloric", Revista de Folclor, An 1, nr. 1-2, 1956, pp 314-315.
  • "Arnold van Gennep", Revista de Folclor, An 2, nr. 3, 1957, pp 106-108.
  • "Folclorul la Congresul Internațional de Slavistică de la Moscova", Revista de Folclor, An 2, nr. 4, 1958, pp 165-167.
  • "Noi orientări în studiile de folclor", Revista de Folclor, An 3, nr. 4, 1958, pp 7-28; reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 33-54.
  • "Cîntecul nou", in: Cîntecele populare noi, [Bucharest]: Editura Muzicală a Uniunii Compozitorilor din RPR, 1959, pp 3-12. Intro.
  • "Câteva observații privind cercetarea folclorului contemporan [1958]", Revista de Folclor, An 4, nr. 1-2, 1959, pp 57-66; reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 55-64.
  • "Tradiție și înnoire în folclorul român contemporan", chap. in: IFMC, Sinaia, 12-17 august 1959, Ananlele Univ. <<C.I. Parhon>> - Seria Ştiinţe sociale - Filologie, Bucharest, An VIII, nr. 15, 1959, pp. 39-48; reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 65-74.
  • Preface to Flori alese din poezia populară. Antologia poeziei lirice, editor Ioan Șerb, [Bucharest]: ESPLA, 1960, pp III-XLIX, 495 p; 2nd ed rev, Bucharest: EPL, 1967, pp V-LII; reprint as "Lirica populară", FR, vol. II, 1998, pp 158-184. Intro.
  • "Nunta din Ţara Oaşului" and "Noi studii sovietive de folclor", in: Revista de Folclor, Anul VI, nr. 1-2, 1961, p 136, pp 139-140, IA, ARG. Reviews.
  • "Caracterul istoric al epicii populare. Comunicare la Sesiunea ştiinţifică a IEF (București, 1963)", in: Revista de Etnografie şi Folclor, Anul IX, nr. 1, 1964, pp 5-15, IA, ARG; reprint in: FR, vol. II, 1998, pp 109-120.
  • "Nouvelles variantes roumaines du chant du Maître Manole (Le sacrifice de l’emmurement)", Romanoslavica, IX, Bucharest, 1963, pp 427-445; reprint in: FR, vol. II, 1998, pp 87-108, PDF, IA, ARG. (French)
  • "Cîntecul popular nou", in: Folclor poetic nou, edition by Ioan Meițoiu, Bucharest: CSCA, CCCP, 1965, pp. 7-21. Intro.
  • "Eminescu și folclorul", LL, vol. IX, 1965, pp 233-239; reprint in: FR, vol. II, 1998, pp 130-137.
  • "Două congrese folclorice internaționale", Revista de Etnografie și Folclor, An 10, nr. 1, 1965, pp 101-105.
  • "Perspective în cercetarea poetică a folclorului", SP, 1966, pp 41-47; reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 89-94.
  • "Le mythe du “Grand Voyage” dans les chants des cérémonies funébres roumaine", in: To Honor Roman Jakobson. Essays on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, Paris/ Mouton: The Hague, 1967, pp 1602-1609; reprint in: FR, vol. II, 1998, pp 185-194. (French)
  • "Metode noi în cercetarea structurii basmelor", in: Folclor literar, vol 1. Timişoara, 1967, pp. 5-12; reprint in: FR, vol. I, 1998, pp 151-159.
  • Adrian Fochi (editor), Bibliografia generală a etnografiei şi folclorului românesc, vol. I, 1800-1891, Bucharest: Editura pentru Literatură, 1968, XL + 723 p. Intro by Mihai Pop.
  • Preface to Gîndirea sălbatică, trans. I. Pecher, Bucharest: Ştiinţifică, 1970, pp. 5-14, PDF, IA, ARG.
  • "Problèmes généraux de l’ethnologie européenne", in: Travaux du Premier Congrès International d’ Ethnologie Européenne, Paris, 1971. (French)
  • "Problèmes généraux de l’etnologie européene", in: Folclor literar, vol. 4, Timişoara, 1977, pp. 5-23. (French)


  • with Lili Soare, Jiri Marek, Turnul Babel, Bucharest: Editura de Stat pentru Literatură şi Artă, 1955.
  • with Mircea Bratucu, Antonin Zapotocky, Văpăi deasupra oraşului Kladno, Bucharest: Editura de Stat pentru Literatură şi Artă, 1955.
  • with Constantin Ţoiu and Maria Ionescu-Nisov, Karel Capek, Hordubal; Meteorul; O viaţă obişnuită, Bucharest: Editura pentru literatură universală, 1967.
  • with Constantin Ţoiu, Karel Capek, Război cu salamandrele, Bucharest: Editura pentru Literatură, 1964; 2nd edition, Bucharest: Univers, 1985.

Selected works

  • FR, Folclor românesc, 2 vols., Nicolae Constantinescu and Al. Dobre (eds.), Bucharest: Editura Grai şi Suflet – Cultura Naţională, 1998.
    • vol. I, Teorie şi metodă, 355 p.
    • vol. II, Texte şi interpretări, 355 p.


  • "Limbajul poetic al creaţiilor folclorice româneşti", University of Bucharest, Cursurile de vară şi colocviile ştiinţifice, Sinaia, 25 iulie - 25 august 1966, text dactilografiat. Unpublished paper.
  • "Poezia populară, partea I (stenogramă)", Bucharest, 1966, PDF, IA, ARG. Unpublished paper.




  • Ioana Fruntelată, Adrian Stoicescu and Rodica Zane (eds.), Centenar Mihai Pop. 1907-2007. Studii și evocări, Bucharest: Editura Universității din București, 2007.
  • Gheorghe Deaconu, Mihai Pop: discurs despre folclor, Golești [Râmnicu Vâlcea]: Fântâna lui Manole, 2007, 159 p.

Articles, chapters

  • Ştefan Bellu, "Valea Cosăului - un Maramureş în miniatură 'Despre cer­ce­tarea - eşantion organizată de Mihai Pop pe Valea Vaserului în anii 70'", Mara­mureş, august 1971, 14 p.
  • Gail Kligman, "Mihai Pop", Research Report 24: Economy, Society and Culture in Contemporary Romania, 1984, pp ix-xi, PDF. (English)
  • Zoltán Rostás, "Mihai Pop: Arhiva de folclor... în șura de fân", pp 261-379, PDF in: Sala luminoasă. Primii monografiști ai Şcolii gustiene, Bucharest: Paideia, 2003, 393 p, PDF.