Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

State borders and cultural boundaries in Southeast Europe: Integrating expert knowledge and revising strategies of conflict-resolution

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.03.02  Humanities  Anthropology  Social and cultural anthropology 

Code Science Field
S220  Social sciences  Cultural anthropology, ethnology 
Anthropology; State borders; Conflict-resolution; Cultural frontiers Cultural and natural heritage; National identity; Southeast Europe; Mediterranean
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (4)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  09175  PhD Bojan Baskar  Culturology  Head  2007 - 2010  434 
2.  14359  PhD Mirjam Mencej  Ethnology  Researcher  2007 - 2008  570 
3.  22414  PhD Jaka Repič  Anthropology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  361 
4.  13175  PhD Irena Weber  Anthropology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  169 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  97,066 
Anthropological research project on conflicts related to state borders and claims over territory and the role played by the tracing of cultural frontiers, management of collective memories and national heritage in perpetuating intercommunal conflicts in Southeast Europe as a part of the wider Mediterranean region. The objective of this research is: 1. to contribute to a more efficient integration of the existent knowledge in the common European space of research; 2. to contribute to the integration of anthropological knowledge on cultural and state boundaries in the emergent space of EuroMed partnership; 3) to generate new knowledge that may be applied in building strategies of conflict-resolution and cooperation in the region.
Significance for science
Studying conflict prevention and resolution has been largely based on the assumption (shared by the technicians of conflict resolution) that the strategies and techniques of conflict resolution imply importing into a local community of resources (instruments, method, techniques...) that the community doesn't have at disposal and that differ in kind from local resources. Such a technicist approach, it's true, often allows for, or even encourages, 'enhancing' of techiques with the knowledge of local history and social realities (including the history of conflict itself). Yet it nevertheless remains somewhat superficial in its knowledge and extraneous to local actors (a circumstance to be most clearly discernable in the institution of 'travelling' conflict-solvers and their NGOs). Two insights contributed by anthropology and further developed by our research are the following: 1) a conflict resolution, which doesn't recognize the legitimacy of the arguments of all parties in the conflict, cannot be efficient; 2) the prospects of conflict resolution depend in good measure on successful redefinition of the framework of the understanding of conflict among all parties, especially when redefinition implies creating inclusive, conflict-transcending new narratives (myth, symbols) offering an imagined perspective of the shared future. A specific contribution of our research to the development of disciplines engaged with conflict resolution is in particular the hypothesis (which, we believe, represents a solid starting point for further theorizing the strategies of conflict resolution) maintaining that, in our effort to solve conflicts, we have always access only to the one and the same means that in certain circumstances act towards dissociation and separation while in other circumstances they may have effects of building bonds. Apart from the scientific contribution to the multidisciplinary field of studying conflict resolution, our research also contributes to the development of several fields to which the thematic axes of our research relate (social memory, cultural boundaries, migrations, tourism, cultural heritage). Considering social memory, our research brings forth new knowledge on characteristic mechanisms of its functionning as well as on its identity-political usages and its potentials for transcending historical divisions. Considering migrations, the research importantly contributes to the state-of-the-art of this research in Slovenia by: 1) the theoretical and methodological shift from studying the currents of migrations to studying the cultural and social processes into which they are embedded; 2) relating political and social construction of diasporas and transnational connections to the role of social memories and the symbolic links with 'homeland'. Considering studies of tourism and cultural heritage, the research brings forth new knowledge on the Montenegrin tourism development, its cultural history and its potentials; on the related politics of binding bonds; on managaing a Unesco World Heritage site in Boka Kotorska; and on imagining multicultural heritage in multiethnic Montenegro. With its ethnographic input, the research contributes to the development of regionally defined anthropologies (the Mediterranean, Southeast Europe, Eastern Adriatic). Last but not least, it contributes to the development of interdisciplinary area studies by a serious effort of integrating domestic (local) with international anthropological production regarding Southeast Europe; this effort was originally conceived as an important epistemological stake of the research project.
Significance for the country
This kind of research enables Slovenia to follow the trajectory of developed societies that systematically generate complex social scientific knowledge of areas which they find of particular interest. Such a research cannot be limited to a hastily produced 'expert' knowledge which is often expected by decision-makers from economists and political scientists in particular. Quite the contrary, it implies complex social scientific and humanistic knowledge which is being slowly generated and accumulated through a long-term fundamental research and drawing upon critical and methodologically specific traditions of the humanities and social sciences. The results of the research can have considerable implications for the pluralist policies and strategies of the regional self-definition and intraregional collaboration of Slovenia. The policies of the plural regional self-definition also have implications for the cultural identity and cultural (also natural) heritage, insofar as they are likely to entail discovering or recognizing those new dimensions of identity and heritage that remain unrecognized or silenced by the policies of the exclusivist regional self-definition. The results of the research might also have implications for migrations policies, for the rethinking of the national attitudes toward Slovenian diasporas abroad and for the tourist development. The results of the research, with their translation in university education, contribute to the development of higher education. Implication of the research into the EU network of excellence Ramses2 contributes to the integration of Slovenian science with the European research space.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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