Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Anthropological and Spatial Studies

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.03.00  Humanities  Anthropology   
2.17.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Geodesy   

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
2.07  Engineering and Technology  Environmental engineering  
social and cultural anthropology; anthropology of space, place and time; anthropological linguistics; archaeology; archaeoastronomy; remote sensing; satellite images; geographical information systems
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on December 1, 2023; A3 for period 2017-2021
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  90  637  565  6.28 
Scopus  107  938  821  7.67 
Researchers (11)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22570  PhD Nataša Gregorič Bon  Humanities  Researcher  2022 - 2023  170 
2.  33016  PhD Ana Jelnikar  Culturology  Researcher  2023  256 
3.  33600  PhD Urška Kanjir  Geodesy  Researcher  2023  89 
4.  28658  PhD Aleš Marsetič  Geodesy  Researcher  2022 - 2023  105 
5.  25040  Peter Pehani    Technical associate  2022 - 2023  97 
6.  33466  PhD Maja Petrović-Šteger  Humanities  Researcher  2022 - 2023  138 
7.  23960  Melita Robič    Technical associate  2022 - 2023 
8.  54762  Nastja Slavec  Anthropology  Junior researcher  2022 - 2023  17 
9.  18930  PhD Ivan Šprajc  Archaeology  Head  2022 - 2023  494 
10.  15116  PhD Borut Telban  Anthropology  Researcher  2022 - 2023  422 
11.  20005  PhD Tatjana Veljanovski  Geodesy  Researcher  2022 - 2023  154 
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  61,885 
The program brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers dedicated to spatial studies, on the one hand, and anthropological research in the broadest sense of the word, on the other. Based on the specializations of individual researchers, the program builds on their internationally recognized achievements in various thematic areas. Anthropological research includes the archaeology and archaeoastronomy of Mesoamerica and the social anthropology of specific social groups in different parts of the world, while spatial studies comprise the development of methods and techniques for processing remote sensing data, analyses with geographical information systems, and the application of these methodological solutions to concrete studies. Key research areas are: 1) the treatment of classical anthropological issues, taking into account current theoretical trends and novel methodological approaches; 2) the natural, social and cultural characteristics of space, place and time and their changes in specific historical processes; 3) the cooperation of social sciences and humanities with spatial analyses of remote sensing data. These research foci are reflected in internationally peer-reviewed monographs that we have published since 2013 in the collection "Space, Place, Time" at ZRC Publishing House. In the area of spatial studies, we will focus on approaches to remote sensing data processing, time series analysis of satellite data, and innovative approaches to interpretation and validation of spatial analyses. Particular attention will be given to the application of these data and analyses in monitoring environmental changes relevant to economy and sustainable development, as well as in answering specific research questions addressed by anthropological studies. In the field of social anthropology, we will continue the study of the ways of living in the Karawari River region of Papua New Guinea, in particular with extensive work on the grammar and dictionary of the Karawari language and the interpretation of linguistic categories in temporal and spatial context. In different areas (Albania, Serbia, Papua New Guinea) we will explore people and practices that offer alternative visions of the future oriented towards social change. The results of the current study on the social significance of aquatic environments in Albania and Serbia will serve as a starting point for further research focusing on people's experiences and understandings of environmental change and its impact on their daily lives. These interpretations will be supported by spatial analyses of remote sensing data, which will also play an important role in explaining the extensive corpus of archaeological information we collected in the previously unexplored central part of Yucatan Peninsula, as well as in ongoing archaeoastronomical research, the results of which have so far shed a significant new light on important aspects of architecture and urbanism in Mesoamerica.
Significance for science
The research program will enable the continuity of our interdisciplinary work in the scientific fields in which we have already attained high levels of specialization and internationally acclaimed results, most eloquently evidenced by numerous scientific publications (monographs, articles in scientific journals and conference proceedings) and citations of published works. The importance of our program for the development of science can be assessed in terms of the results achieved in solving particular research problems within anthropological and spatial studies, as well as in the light of methodological advantages based on innovative combinations of the methods and techniques of spatial studies with typical anthropological approaches. The long-term ethnographic fieldwork in previously unexplored region of Papua New Guinea has since its beginning combined anthropology with linguistics, enabling detailed analysis of important local concepts closely associated with people's activities and ways of thinking. This has been shown through in-depth studies of personhood, place and time, illness, death and spirits, rituals, poetics of singing and dancing events, and the use of language in general. Ongoing social and cultural changes due to new forms of trade, education, Christianity and new technologies are inseparable part of these studies. This kind of holistic research enables comparative studies and better understanding of historical changes of societies and cultures in specific non-European environments. Moreover, it also offers an opportunity for researchers to critically reflect on the concepts and practices that are based, for example, on European tradition. Within anthropological research we will also focus on how people envision a not-yet extant version of the common good. The most significant outcome will be an ethnographically inflected and theoretically nuanced reworking of the notion of the visionary. We will re-specify its scope and refine the methods used to investigate this familiar yet under-theorized category. The visionary will be reimagined as a mode laying the groundwork for transformation tending to societal reform and healing across ethnographical contexts. Our empirical, material, and analytical insights will be disseminated to various initiatives interested in radical alterity and its transformative potential. Our research of water environments and environmental changes in Albania and Serbia is a contribution to the anthropology of water and environmental anthropology. By combining the classical anthropological approach with remote sensing techniques, it aims to develop a methodology of "remote and near sensing", which will enable a more holistic understanding of water bodies, thus also allowing predictions about environmental futures in different locales in Europe and beyond. As exemplified by the results achieved so far, the use of the methodology of spatial studies will contribute substantially to the interpretations of archaeological data obtained in the central part of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico through laser scanning, field surveys, and test excavations. Further archaeoastronomical research of orientations in Mesoamerican architecture will lead to a deeper understanding of the underlying principles and of their interrelatedness with economy, religious concepts, and political ideology. The results will thus shed light on important aspects of architectural and urban planning, but will also illustrate the utility of archaeoastronomical methodology for solving broadly relevant archaeological issues. Within spatial studies, we pay special attention to an in-depth understanding of the relationships between spatial data and the phenomena they reflect, and to the interpretation of these data in the context of natural and social processes. The contextualization of spatial data, i.e. the combination of social (anthropological and archaeological) insight into the problem/phenomenon with its spatial representations obtained through analyses is a current research challenge, directing our search for original solutions. The importance of spatial studies within the program is also illustrated by the development of more broadly applicable methods and techniques. Our research responds to the challenges in Earth observation from space and Big Data processing. Freely available and long-term satellite-based Earth observation data allow monitoring of the natural and urban environment with a high spatial and temporal resolution. Our ongoing systematic studies include complex procedures for preparing remote sensing data and the development of appropriate methodological and analytical solutions adapted to different tasks and areas of observation, and thus contribute to timely and long-term monitoring of processes with remote sensing data. We focus on satellite data acquisition, storage, preprocessing and preparation, the use of machine learning, and the development of custom solutions for a variety of purposes. Developing data processing automation, which is necessary in situations where rapid response is required and the amount of data is too large for manual operations, we participate in the most recent global trends and have achieved a decisive advantage over the existing approaches, while some results and databases are already available to private and public users. The program will also contribute to specific knowledge on the use of satellite-based Earth observation data to monitor and understand specific ecosystems, providing results of temporal analyses through careful data processing. The outcomes will be evaluated by considering the impact of broader, historical and current, natural and social processes. Long-term observations and detection of cause-effect relationships between natural environment and recent human activity should also stimulate more appropriate decisions related to environmental intervention and protection policies in the near future.
Significance for the country
The creativity of the program group and its presence in international scientific circles contributes to the international recognition and promotion of Slovenia and thus also to its socio-economic development. We publish the research results in books and renowned international scientific journals, deliver invited lectures and seminars at foreign universities, participate in workshops, symposia and international conferences, as well as in teaching, mentoring and advising graduate students both in Slovenia and abroad. We figure as reviewers in Slovenian and foreign scientific journals, as professional evaluators of international research projects, and are recipients of prestigious foreign and Slovenian grants, fellowships, and awards. We are also members of editorial boards of scientific journals and book series at home and abroad. On a more concrete level, our program is also directly involved in social, economic and cultural development in Slovenia. The research we are conducting within the field of spatial studies aims at obtaining relevant and reliable geospatial and biophysical environmental information. Accurate temporal tracking of phenomena on the Earth's surface helps to understand the functioning and interrelationship of society and nature and can contribute to more comprehensive and adequate spatial planning and land management. The availability of spatial data and appropriate technological solutions for data processing procedures are essential to making convenient and timely decisions in the fields of environmental protection, water and food security, urban planning and development, agriculture and forestry, risk and disaster management, infrastructure assessment, estimation of energy and other natural resource requirements, and cultural resource management. The utility of data that are subject of our processing and analytical procedures is most eloquently attested in our collaboration with various institutions and government agencies in Slovenia that are in charge of handling the issues of this kind. Our research is also pertinent to the pursuit of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations member states in 2015. Several of the 17 goals are based on, or require, advanced processing of geospatial data to monitor the situation, verify the implementation of the goals, and develop relevant indicators. Remote sensing, which is at the core of our research, is very well suited for monitoring change as it offers a unique spatial and temporal resolution of measurements that cannot be achieved with other data collection methods. Regarding anthropological and archaeological research, it should be underscored that the results of investigations of different cultures enhance objectivity in understanding the social, ethnic, political, and other problems in both Slovenia and elsewhere; without knowing and understanding cultural variability, even our own culture, national identity, and historical processes that have led to the present-day Slovenian social reality cannot be objectively evaluated. The importance of this aspect is clearly evidenced by the interest of the general public in our findings, which we disseminate in invited public lectures, by appearing in the media, and even by professional collaboration in tourist excursions. It is also worth emphasizing that the professional expertise and many years of field experience of individuals included in the program group can help to develop methodological tools of anthropological sciences in general, which means that the results can be usefully included in the education processes of young generations of researchers. Of particular importance is the distinct interdisciplinarity or multidisciplinarity that distinguishes the activities within our research program. As evidenced by the results achieved thus far, our work involves not only the use of data, theoretical models and methodological approaches characteristic of anthropological or socio-historical disciplines, but also the application and development of exact methods and techniques that have emerged within the natural sciences, but which can also be productively used in the humanities, regardless of the study subject and the corresponding geographical area. The combination of anthropological methodology with remote sensing techniques and spatial analyses provides more compelling explanations of the relationships between particular societies, their impact on the environment and the consequences of climate change. The results of such studies can thus also provide the relevant institutions and political bodies with a sound basis for adequate planning of important aspects of sustainable development.
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