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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Experiencing water environments and environmental changes: An anthropological study of water in Albania, Serbia and Slovenia

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.03.02  Humanities  Anthropology  Social and cultural anthropology 

Code Science Field
S220  Social sciences  Cultural anthropology, ethnology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
Keywords
anthropology of water; fluid environments; sustainability; environmentalism; South East Europe; Albania, Serbia, Slovenia
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (7)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22570  PhD Nataša Gregorič Bon  Humanities  Head  2019 - 2022  175 
2.  38086  Aleš Grlj  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2022  36 
3.  33016  PhD Ana Jelnikar  Humanities  Researcher  2019 - 2022  263 
4.  33600  PhD Urška Kanjir  Geodesy  Researcher  2019 - 2022  92 
5.  33466  PhD Maja Petrović-Šteger  Humanities  Researcher  2019 - 2022  141 
6.  19251  PhD Nataša Rogelja Caf  Anthropology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  210 
7.  15116  PhD Borut Telban  Anthropology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  425 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,160 
Abstract
This research project is conceived as a contribution to the anthropology of water. Water related research at large still tends to focus on the areas that are vulnerable to severe droughts (Africa), the consequences of the melting ice (e.g. the Artic pole, South America), or rising seas (e.g. Oceania). Yet, parts of the South East Europe (SEE) or the so-called Balkans seem to be still a blank space of the research dedicated to ‘water-related changes’. Proposed research team aims to explore this overlooked chapter of the anthropology of water in SEE by documenting and analysing the ways in which water and water environments are being experienced and understood in Albania, Serbia and Slovenia (ASS). The AIM of this comparative anthropological study is to understand and describe how the short- and long-term environmental changes are experienced and thought in ASS. Departing from the so-called ecological or environmental anthropology, which in transgressing the nature/culture dualism directs its attention towards the deep entanglement existing among the geological, hydrological and social, the project explores these relationships in particular water environments of particular rivers in ASS. By closely following the ways in which people, governments, transnational corporations and environmentalists intervene and interpret water-related phenomena and other environmental changes, the research will question and further complicate the pervasive meanings of the notions of ‘environment’, ‘sustainability’, ‘resilience’, ‘adaptation’ and ‘vulnerability’. This research is conceived as a classical anthropological study. However its goal is to INNOVATIVELY combine anthropological approach with remote sensing (RS) methods and geographical analysis. Particular research phases will thus benefit from the RS modelling analysis, geomorphological and hydrogeological analysis, which will be done by a geodesists and a geographer. The analysis of the satellite images and geographical validation of the areas under study will allow the anthropologists to view the water bodies in the longitudinal time-frame, from above (RS analysis) and below (geology) the Earth’s surface.  Our goal is to explore water through its nature/culture, source/resource axis and question what people make out of it, how do they feel, sense and imagine it? We will focus on human agency and also on that of water, its power and capacity to create, inspire, overflow and make things happen. Moreover, we will also question the contemporary environmental and ecological fixation with water’s influence on the landscape from an anthropological point of view. The application of the RS methods and geographical analysis will direct our attention towards the deep entanglement existing among the geological, hydrological and social in particular water environments in ASS. Streaming across disciplines and different conceptual the project will allow to navigate and widen the ethnographic analysis of ‘fluid environments’.
Significance for science
The project relevance is: A) THEMATICAL: This is a contribution to the anthropology of water in SEE and environmental anthropology. It will revisit and rethink the contemporary scholarly debates on the Anthropocene epoch, climate change, sustainability and wilderness. With its focus on the SEE, it will question if, how and where (in which levels of society) these debates feature in ASS public discussions and discourses as well peoples’ intimate lives. Attentive and detailed ethnographic study of experienced anthropologists will open up fresh insights into the almost overlooked chapter on the anthropology of water in SEE. By combining the classical anthropological approach with the remotely sensed analysis and geographical expertise this project will enable a more holistic understanding of water and try to make predictions about ‘environmental futures’ of the SEE and beyond. B) METHODOLOGICAL: The research team will conjoin 3 anthropologists who have a long-term ethnographic experience and rich research track in the areas under study: ASS and SEE in general. Enriched with the knowledge provided by an expert in remote sensing and a geographer, this research will run into novel insights that will navigate and widen the ethnographic analysis of ‘fluid environments’. On the whole, the ethnographic material gathered during our fieldwork will form the core insight which will enable us to delve into important emic concepts of personal and collective imaginative holds and experiences of water. These emic concepts will be the entry points into to etic, analytical categories on the anthropology of water in SEE. The potential impact of the results are:  1. The project deals with topical and yet so far underresearched issues such as environmentalism, sustainability and wilderness in SEE. The detailed ethnographic data will offer the material with which we aim to analyse and rethink the contemporary set of discourses and practices related to environmental policies and changing weather patterns, including the work of non-government organisations, various environmental scientists and activists. 2. The combination of ethnographic research with techniques of remote sensing and geographical analysis will offer novel insights into spatial and temporal relationships among people and their physical environments and lead to a better understanding of peoples’ relation to the water and vice versa. 3. An in-depth understanding of fluid environments will enable us to shape an integrated water management which will help to better navigate the water futures.
Significance for the country
The project relevance is: A) THEMATICAL: This is a contribution to the anthropology of water in SEE and environmental anthropology. It will revisit and rethink the contemporary scholarly debates on the Anthropocene epoch, climate change, sustainability and wilderness. With its focus on the SEE, it will question if, how and where (in which levels of society) these debates feature in ASS public discussions and discourses as well peoples’ intimate lives. Attentive and detailed ethnographic study of experienced anthropologists will open up fresh insights into the almost overlooked chapter on the anthropology of water in SEE. By combining the classical anthropological approach with the remotely sensed analysis and geographical expertise this project will enable a more holistic understanding of water and try to make predictions about ‘environmental futures’ of the SEE and beyond. B) METHODOLOGICAL: The research team will conjoin 3 anthropologists who have a long-term ethnographic experience and rich research track in the areas under study: ASS and SEE in general. Enriched with the knowledge provided by an expert in remote sensing and a geographer, this research will run into novel insights that will navigate and widen the ethnographic analysis of ‘fluid environments’. On the whole, the ethnographic material gathered during our fieldwork will form the core insight which will enable us to delve into important emic concepts of personal and collective imaginative holds and experiences of water. These emic concepts will be the entry points into to etic, analytical categories on the anthropology of water in SEE. The potential impact of the results are:  1. The project deals with topical and yet so far underresearched issues such as environmentalism, sustainability and wilderness in SEE. The detailed ethnographic data will offer the material with which we aim to analyse and rethink the contemporary set of discourses and practices related to environmental policies and changing weather patterns, including the work of non-government organisations, various environmental scientists and activists. 2. The combination of ethnographic research with techniques of remote sensing and geographical analysis will offer novel insights into spatial and temporal relationships among people and their physical environments and lead to a better understanding of peoples’ relation to the water and vice versa. 3. An in-depth understanding of fluid environments will enable us to shape an integrated water management which will help to better navigate the water futures.
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