Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Slovene literature and social changes: national state, democracy and transitional discrepancies

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.07.00  Humanities  Literary sciences   

Code Science Field
H390  Humanities  General and comparative literature, literary criticism, literary theory 

Code Science Field
6.02  Humanities  Languages and Literature 
Comparative literature, Literary history, Cultural history, Slovene literature 1945 - 1991 and 1991-, Literature and society
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (12)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  29358  PhD Varja Balžalorsky Antić  Literary sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  121 
2.  30792  PhD Jernej Habjan  Literary sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  198 
3.  06442  PhD Marko Juvan  Literary sciences  Researcher  2018 - 2020  746 
4.  38229  PhD Matic Kocijančič  Literary sciences  Junior researcher  2017 - 2020  132 
5.  18921  PhD Matevž Kos  Literary sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  647 
6.  26159  PhD Krištof Jacek Kozak  Literary sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  301 
7.  16427  PhD Vanesa Matajc  Literary sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  588 
8.  53657  PhD Anja Skapin  Literary sciences  Researcher  2019 - 2020  20 
9.  28568  PhD Alen Albin Širca  Literary sciences  Researcher  2017 - 2020  213 
10.  24439  PhD Gašper Troha  Literary sciences  Researcher  2019  287 
11.  14508  PhD Tomislav Virk  Literary sciences  Head  2017 - 2020  1,130 
12.  33078  PhD Igor Žunkovič  Humanities  Researcher  2017 - 2020  125 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,910 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,150 
3.  1822  University of Primorska, Faculty of Humanities  Koper  1810014001  9,984 
In 1989, a political democracy was established in Slovenia, while in 1991 Slovenia for the first time in its history became an independent state. Both events – the first simultaneous with the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the second connected with the collapse of Yugoslavia – have cut deeply not only into Slovene society but also into its cultural and artistic spheres. The basic aim of the project is to investigate what kind of changes the Slovene literary system has undergone during these reversals and what the social role of literature is in the new circumstances. The starting-point of the research is the established conception of the traditional social role of Slovene literature, as it was formed in the 19th century. At that time the Slovenes lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and were not a fully authorized nation with their own state institutions. This lack was compensated for by literature, which beside its aesthetic function equally fulfilled its function of preserving or constituting the nation. These two functions were involved in a mutual interaction, so that the nation-constituting function influenced the forming of typical literary constants (e.g. lyricism, the passive, yearning heroes of novels, etc.) of Slovene literature, which were considered to hold true for its entire development. Especially after 1945, after the communist seizure of power in Yugoslavia and Slovenia and after the establishment of a one-party dictatorship, conditions arose that somewhat modified the traditional role of Slovene literature. It still remained the bearer of a socially compensatory role, except that it no longer compensated for the lack of national sovereignty, but the lack of basic human rights and political freedoms. In the period between 1945 and 1991 Slovene literature performed this function in various ways. With aesthetic innovations it defied the official literary-ideological directives, with literary mimicry it widened the space for freedom of the spirit and pluralism of thought, in an aesthetic change of dress it criticized the existing system, it opened up suppressed themes of current and recent history which were otherwise taboo, so that historiography did not tackle them, etc. And it was not only individuals that were active but whole groups, often connected with literary magazines, who were thus the constant target of repression by the authorities. The research will critically study and supplement the existing findings concerning both these compensatory roles of Slovene literature. More attention will be devoted to especially the social role of literature in the period 1945-1991. Here it will particularly concentrate on the way literature in this period made a concrete contribution to the democratic processes that reached their zenith in the introduction of parliamentary democracy and in gaining Slovene independence. With the reaching of these two aims, the social atmosphere in Slovenia again changed significantly. The country, which had scarcely escaped from the grip of a multi-national community, entered into new integrations: NATO, the EU, etc. Social values were changing, a harsh variant of liberal capitalism was introduced, conflicts ensued for the “proper” interpretation of history, Slovenia was troubled by the typical difficulties of a state in transition. There were also problems specific to Slovenia: the so-called “erased”, the re-actualization of Slovene ideological divisiveness during the Second World War, nostalgia for the previous regime and state, etc. All these changes also influenced the entire literary sphere, which underwent appropriate modification, especially affecting literary production itself, which began to thematize all these typical problems. In its central section, the research will analyze and systematize these thematizations, and at the same time aim at evaluating the nature of Slovene literature’s social role after 1991, comparing it with that in previous periods.
Significance for science
The results of the project will fill in certain crucial, unresearched gaps in literary historiography. They will provide new knowledge about certain factors of the literary sphere, which today, in this time of an altered and unclear social role for literature, are especially important. Two things will be achieved: a) the first complete analysis of the social role of literature in Slovenia, and b) the first complete analysis of Slovene literature after independence in 1991, with all the structural changes in both the social and literary spheres. At the same time the results will supplement and build on: a) traditional and more recent findings about the specifics of Slovene literature and its social role, and b) existing researches of the authors dealt with and their works. The first clear typology of post-independence Slovene literature will be presented. All these results will be a referential starting-point for further researches in the fields of Slovene literary history, examinations of individual authors and their works, the social role of Slovene literature, the relation between the social and the aesthetic in Slovene literature, etc. Due to the specifics of the project topic and its approach, the findings will be important not only for Slovene literary science (and especially for literary teaching and history: the results of the project will have to be taken into account by all surveys or histories of Slovene literature up to 1991, and especially after 1991), but also for general historiography, sociology and cultural history. One of the priority research topics in the field of the humanities in the EU is research into social and cultural changes in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe after 1990, in the period of democratization, transition, globalization, and new integrations. Some such researches - encouraged also by the European Commission – are underway, but none of them deals with this problem area in Slovenia. The proposed project, with its results to be published in Slovene and English, and made available in international publications, will therefore be a significant scientific contribution also from the international viewpoint.
Significance for the country
It is typical of literary works that in comparison with other types of discourse they deal with important life and social themes in a plastic, clear, yet complex way, also mostly without ideological deception, but at the same time also wrapped in aesthetic conventions. Precisely for this reason Slovene literary works between 1945 and 1991 had such an important role: they could increase the space for freedom of thought, which other public means could not manage to this extent; they could implant democratic standards, which was impossible through existing political institutions; they could deal with taboo historical topics, which historiography in Slovenia could not do. In all these ways they significantly influenced the social changes which happened around the year 1990. (It is no coincidence but rather a logical consequence that in 1988 the so-called “writers’ constitution” was created and that in the years around 1990 several notable writers played an important political role.) The project will treat these happenings in a complete way for the first time and thus enable a better understanding of the processes that led to political democratization in Slovenia and finally to state independence; in addition, the project will make possible a better understanding of the role of Slovene literature (and culture) in these processes. With its analysis of structural changes in Slovene literary culture and society after 1991 and of the social role of literature in this period, the project will additionally contribute to informing citizens and also state institutions about the importance of culture and especially of literature for the development of society and of the state. The results of the analyses of the individual thematic sections of Slovene post-independence literature will also make an important contribution to social self-reflection about significant topical themes, such as the problem of national identity in a period of globalization, of integrations into broader connections and a period of crisis in these integrations, the problem of the erased, the problem of liberal-capitalistic arrangements and of the consumer society, the problem of social minorities, the problem of “Yugo-nostalgia”, and especially the problem of ideological divisiveness and the interpretation of the fairly recent past. As regards the last mentioned, it should be particularly stressed that the results of the researches will help towards a more objective, ideologically and politically less loaded discussion about the fairly recent past, which significantly helps to shape the present-day Slovene social reality. In the economic sphere, the commenting and archiving (not only through publications, but also through the project website) of the literary works and processes dealt with, illuminated in a new light and more thoroughly, will contribute to new publishing, press and television projects.
Most important scientific results Final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Final report
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