Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Refugees - a never ending story

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
H250  Humanities  Contemporary history (since 1914) 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
Refugeedom, 20th Century, Slovenian territory, Violence, Status, Everyday life
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33083  PhD Kornelija Ajlec  Historiography  Researcher  2018 - 2020  363 
2.  36397  PhD Gregor Antoličič  Historiography  Researcher  2018 - 2020  163 
3.  08394  PhD Bojan Godeša  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  455 
4.  28529  PhD Jernej Kosi  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  177 
5.  33361  PhD Katarina Mohar  Art history  Researcher  2019 - 2020  118 
6.  15690  PhD Barbara Murovec  Art history  Researcher  2017 - 2020  371 
7.  20221  PhD Miha Preinfalk  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  437 
8.  19632  PhD Andrej Rahten  Historiography  Researcher  2018 - 2020  557 
9.  11484  PhD Božo Repe  Historiography  Researcher  2017 - 2020  2,476 
10.  11698  PhD Petra Svoljšak  Humanities  Head  2017 - 2020  572 
11.  15203  PhD Barbara Vodopivec  Historiography  Researcher  2019 - 2020  207 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0501  Institute for Contemporary History  Ljubljana  5057116000  5,115 
2.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,465 
3.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,981 
The increase of global figures of refugees in the last decades, their use in the field of political argumentation and public discourse, posed the question of historization of the refugee topic, also as a result of the fact that refugees and refugee experience have been largely excluded from the »mainstream« historical debates, as a historical category they are absent from discussions of social sciences and even more from the politics. The withdrawal of refugees to the margings of historical debates thus represents only partial understanding of the processes that not only marked an era, but fundamentally changed it. Refugees have been one of the central »products« of the post-imperial Europe and one of the key features of the European evolution after WW1. The motor of the refugeedom have been the dissolution of empires, total war and revolution, which also represent the essence of the project. With WW1 refugees became an object of international politics and a factor in international relations, after the war they became a decisive factor in internal and international politics which led to the first international stipulations regarding the refugee status and (non)citizenship. Thus the decision for the time frame of the project is logical, as it will encompass the genocidal 20th Century. The research will analyze the two world wars and the war in the former Yugoslavia (1991 – 1995); the WW1 and WW2 will be analyzed form the point of view of the departures, whereas the “last” war will place the Slovenian territory as the place of arrival of the refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nationalization and »purification« of the post-war places were the consequence of nationalisms, particularisms and expulsionisms, which aimed to form »pure« national states and thus demanded the expulsion of the population with wrong ethnic credentials.Thus the project group will have to deal with this topis too, but on a limited scale. The refugeedom will be discussed from the point of view of social history of the war, thus the analyses will be focused on the means and periods of departure, the methods of accommodation, forms of help and self-support with social networks, which helped the refugees to establish the basic living conditions in the new social, cultural, ethnic and religious environment. The research of the Slovenian refugee experience will further on place the Slovenian forced migrations in the context of the European history of war migrations, because it has been neglected in the European contextualization of war violence and consequent migrations, maybe because geographically or factually not interesting enough for the European historiography. The ignorance about the proper (refugee) past reflects in an uncritical and ahistorical relation to the current refugee processes, xenophobia and unfounded fear of the “others”, which is an easy prey for the extreme political ideas and inconsistent governmental measures. The image of a refugee is a social-historical category, which in every occasion changes contexts, social and cultural meanings and had influenced the formation of legal frames. The task of the historical research is also to rise above various typologies, categorizations and legal definitions of refugees, as they are the result of certain legal jurisdictions and were the consequence of different historical contexts and processes.
Significance for science
The proposed study will focus on comprehensive research fo the refugeedom in the 20th Century on the Slovenian territory and will be contecstualized in a wider European perspective. It will be  based on lesser-known and unused archival and other sources. By opening new, hitherto neglected questions it attempts to fill lacunae in the thoroughness some global processes have been explored, presenting these very elements in a different light. Additionally, the project is separated from the superficial positivistic factographical approach to historiography, attempting to place the subject in question into a broader (culturological, sociological) reflection, which makes it interesting for establishing fertile interdisciplinary connections and creating broader (transdisciplinary) fields of research. The interconnectedness of experts on various periods and fields of history surrounding the common problem - that of the refugeedom - will serve as a good starting point for establishing guidelines for further intra- as well as interdisciplinary studies. The results will contribute to a synthetic portrayal of the history of Slovenian territory in the 20th Century, to an empirically supported reflection of the inherent sociocultural processes, and at the same time they will facilitate the active inclusion of the researchers in international academic discourse, especially in the form of international publications and collaboration in conferences. Slovenian historiography will thus more easily engage in historiographical discourse and studies outside of national borders, and by tackling questions such as social mobility on the basis of education, the role of centres of education, and the social role of the nobility, it will achieve greater recognition in Europe. The interest in WWI and its consequences merits special emphasis, as it will be in the global spotlight for the next years by virtue of the 100-year anniversary. Given that the results of the project's studies will be presented on a dedicated website, as well as in academic papers, exhibitions, workshops and a monograph upon its conclusion, we can expect much further-reaching impact on the development of historical science than if they were to be summarized merely in sparse publications in Slovenian and foreign journals. This common denominator will thus achieve much more recognition for its content, objectives, and results. In this view we can expect the project's long-lasting importance for historical science.It will also contribute in the academic debate on a diversified and sometimes confused terminology.
Significance for the country
The research project tackles permanent social problems and processes which importantly affect human self-understanding and self-identification at both personal and social level. Based on the project's results the content will, in addition to historical sciences, have a permanent impact on other disciplines (both humanistic and social), while the popularization of science through the media and the pedagogic processes will ensure that the study's findings have immediate significance for informing citizens about questions of refugeedom, the sources of the problematics, identity issues, which in one form or another are a mainstay in society. With appropriate research and presentation of the questions that are the subject of the proposed study, Slovenian society will catch up with other societies which already began systematically and unreservedly studying these issues decades ago. The project's web portal will make it possible - for both academics and the lay population to keep track of the project group's findings directly and in real time.
Most important scientific results Final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
Views history