Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Fertility behavior in Slovenia, 1840 - 2002: economic, social and cultural factors of regional, social and ethnic differences of fertility in ethnic Slovenian territory.

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.04.00  Humanities  Ethnology   

Code Science Field
S250  Social sciences  Demography 
S220  Social sciences  Cultural anthropology, ethnology 
Fertility behavior, fertility, ethnological demografy, anthropological demography, historical demography, reproductive healt, culture of childbirth, familiy planning
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (6)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08371  PhD Milan Bufon  Geography  Researcher  2007 - 2009  602 
2.  15173  PhD Alenka Janko Spreizer  Humanities  Researcher  2007 - 2009  273 
3.  17057  PhD Aleksej Kalc  Historiography  Researcher  2007 - 2009  410 
4.  15419  PhD Irena Rožman  Ethnology  Head  2007 - 2009  130 
5.  18581  PhD Mateja Sedmak  Sociology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  536 
6.  09042  PhD Marija Mojca Terčelj  Ethnology  Researcher  2007 - 2009  259 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,880 
Fertility decline in Slovenia began as a consequence of conscious and planned birth limitations at the end of the 19th century, but its start and extent depended on the regional, social, professional and ethnic circumstances prevailing. This trend cannot be dependent on modernization processes of industrialization, urbanization and secularisation alone. Big regional differences in fertility prove that it is not only influenced by demographic processes (mortality, number of weddings) and modernization processes, but were also created and maintained through a conflux of various economic, social and cultural levers, stationed between the macro and micro social environments. Among them are the marriage and inheritance customs, forms of family organization connected to mode of production, religious and moral doctrines, education, living level, consumption capabilities, possibilities for social and political activity of women, costs of care and treatment for children, social mobility, birth customs, (in) effectiveness contraceptive methods, etc. The above mentioned reveals that the general theory of fertility behaviour, i.e. the theory of demographic transition, which could satisfactorily explain the fertility behaviour in all societies no matter the time or the place, is neither justifiable nor possible. It should be based on specific contexts, including the historical, social, cultural and other aspects, which can be attained only through micro research. The purpose of the interdisciplinary research of fertility behaviour is to show: 1. How and through which social mechanisms and micro-cultural systems the fertility behaviour changed, 2. When and 3. Why does the need to limit births develop.
Significance for science
The relevance of this research for the development of science is twofold, firstly, in bringing into focus previous research findings and approaches of demographic anthropologists and secondly, in the integration of demographic and medical anthropology. We highlighted the difficulty of defining fertility as a result of various pre-defined and selected factors (e.g. demographic, social, economic, cultural, anthropological, etc.) and explanations of their cause-effect relationships. This was achieved using a comparative holistic research approach which treats fertility behaviour in the socio-historical context. To this end, we analyzed the relationship between reproductive perceptions, reflected in the measures of healthcare and demographic policies, and locally specific forms of fertility behaviour in selected micro regions. In this context, we contributed to the development of science with a critical review of the self-evident clarifying concepts which explain fertility with the regional, social and ethnic affiliation of individuals. Based on preliminary findings, we found that the region, the social stratum and the ethnic group are not fixed and homogeneous entities, as it may be concluded on the basis of their demographic indicators. This realization was fostered by the analysis of the social, geographic and ethnic distribution of fertility indicators, the remarkable result of which indicated that most of the differences in fertility behaviour are to be found within the studied populations/entities, and not between the studied populations/entities. This insight calls for a qualitative and not only statistical examination in order to explain why different groups of individuals living in the same "area" (social, ethnic and regional) have different fertility strategies. This is a topic par excellance in the study of fertility. We devoted particular attention to examining the criteria which de-construct a region; we focused on the examination of the relationship between the "culture" of the region and the "culture of fertility behaviour" of individuals, which is the contribution of this research to the development of demographic anthropology.
Significance for the country
The impact of this basic project is the promotion and strengthening the understanding of "cultural" differences, which are also reflected in the fertility behaviour of people. On the national scale this research is a pioneer work in the field of demographic anthropology as well as in the field of medical anthropology, which is primarily reflected in the integration of both disciplines. With its instant results, the project contributes to the highly deficient topics focusing on the connection between fertility and birth/delivery. With this, we opened new crucial social questions on the so-called medicalization of peri-natal health care, connected with human rights to alternative methods of treatment, etiquette and behaviour, in short - with the right to be different. We dealt with issues bringing into the Slovenian research area alternative aspects of culture in the study of birth, i.e. social (scientific and public) perceptions: 1. of the "deviant" (causes and effects), or socially undesirable sexual and fertility behaviour of groups of women who are socially stigmatized / discriminated against (the handicapped, migrants, Roma women, girls, lesbians, single, rural women); 2. peri-natal health care medicalization; 3. the concepts which uncritically or unilaterally define and delimit the characteristics of "obstetric", "holistic" and “medical” models of peri-natal health care, between the so-called authoritarian obstetric knowledge of birth attendants and practical or instinctive obstetric skills of midwives; 4. changes in the birth culture (rituals during pregnancy, childbirth and after childbirth); 5. ethnically specific peri-natal (medical) culture of Roma women.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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