Projects / Programmes source: ARIS


Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.12.02  Humanities  Geography  Social geography 

Code Science Field
S230  Social sciences  Social geography 

Code Science Field
5.07  Social Sciences  Social and economic geography 
Political geography, European multicultural regions, planning social and spatial integration, cross-border functional cooperation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08371  PhD Milan Bufon  Geography  Head  2010 - 2013  596 
2.  06391  PhD Anton Gosar  Geography  Researcher  2010 - 2013  629 
3.  25539  PhD Ana Kralj  Sociology  Researcher  2010 - 2012  121 
4.  07653  PhD Karmen Medica  Anthropology  Researcher  2010 - 2013  395 
5.  08262  PhD Stanko Pelc  Geography  Researcher  2010 - 2013  320 
6.  18581  PhD Mateja Sedmak  Sociology  Researcher  2010 - 2012  533 
7.  25540  PhD Miha Staut  Geography  Researcher  2010  80 
8.  34284  PhD Colin H. Williams  Geography  Researcher  2011 - 2013  24 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,879 
The study of concurrent processes of social and spatial convergence and divergence is becoming a key factor in understanding the possibility of not only horizontal, but also vertical integration in Europe, and thereby of the hindering and promoting elements and factors of the new European paradigm “unity in diversity.” In particular, the present research project focuses on a comparative coverage of European border and multicultural regions, where the concurrent processes of social and spatial convergence and divergence are most pronounced, enabling the development of potential conflict and co-existential social relations, as well as “open” and “closed” spatial policies. In this sense, the aim of the project is to develop a new integration model through understanding and directing the prospects of development in multicultural and border regions, a model that would check - based on the example of Slovenia and its contact areas - the comparative development possibilities for horizontal and vertical integration processes in the future united Europe. Within a wider political-geographic framework and based on a special methodology, developed by the project leader, the research will examine in detail the typology of border areas, the degree of functional and sociocultural integration among the border population, the forms of institutional cross-border cooperation, and the degree of consistency between social and spatial planning on the example of Slovene and other analogous European multicultural areas. The project will examine the elements and factors promoting or hindering cross-border communication and integration, and within this frame also the position and role of local communities and minorities in intercultural and functional social cooperation. In addition, the project will deal with the impacts of establishment and elimination of border barriers on society and space in the period following Slovenia’s entering into the European Union and the Schengen area, while also conducting comparative studies of processes and problems of border and contact areas on Slovene and broader European levels, especially in relation to the western European practice of institutional integration, central European functional cross-border cooperation and the still unsolved problems of contact areas of potential conflict in south-eastern Europe. Further on, problems concerning spatial deconcentration and decentralisation as well as sustainable spatial development will also be examined. This will contribute to the development of a more efficient organisation of space for the purposes of cross-border planning and more adequate spatial policies on national and transnational levels, taking into consideration the problems of spatial organisation in implementing European cross-border cooperation programmes. Subsequently, probe studies will examine the problems of migration, identity and intercultural communication as factors in understanding social and cultural dimensions in multicultural and border regions, and finally, the potential of intercultural connections and social integration. The general objective of the project is to develop Slovenia and Slovene areas of social and cultural contact in a comparative relationship with other European border and multicultural areas into a “model” of European cooperation, that is, into “a model” for studying and directing concrete prospects of social and spatial integration (convergence) under conditions of cultural and political “diversity” (divergence). The previous research orientation and success of the project leader and members of the project group as well as their international cooperation undoubtedly constitute a solid basis for the successful realisation of the project objectives and contents set forth.
Significance for science
Europe is currently trying to find a new solution to its development dilemma, a solution that could actualise the “unity in diversity” paradigm in a multitude of different interests and different “specific weights” of individual states, regional communities, linguistic groups and territorial units. At the same time, this new paradigm will have to face the problem of its possible transfer to the world level and its attitude towards the “melting pot” of globalisation. But the new development potential and the new social paradigm need first to be tested and applied to numerous European contact areas - areas of social and cultural contact. This is not so much about “managing” inter-state spaces in terms of organisation and directing functional economic, social and administrative units, or elimination of internal borders and obstacles to cross-border and other movement of people, goods, services and capital, but more about “managing” potential conflicts and potential forms of coexistence of different nations, ethnic and linguistic groups, between tradition and modernity, between ethnos and demos. More and more people are discovering and accepting the fact that different identities and linguistic practices can exist in the same administrative or social environment, and that the boundaries between different sociocultural areas are not linear and fixed, but zoned and mobile, making up a very complex and fragmented social area that we could term “contact area.” But it would be wrong to ascribe regional communities only the role of preservers of their own autochthonous territory or the cultural region of their origin, as in contemporary development processes they are also adopting a new role in the integration of border areas and establishment of coexistence and integration practices, especially when a reconstruction of former functional spaces is necessary. Studies of social and spatial processes and phenomena in so called “areas of contact” show that the new European “common home” should not only be built “top-down,” as was the practice in the last decades, but also “bottom-up.” As a small country on the European scale, Slovenia is the environment where “bottom” and “top” meet and intertwine, and could for this reason serve not only as “a model” for studying the effects of integration processes on the development of its numerous “contact” areas, as we researchers have showed and proved in the past, but also as “a model” for implementing the very future European image. This is also why in our opinion the need for studying forms of intercultural dialogue and coexistence in European areas of social and cultural contact is becoming so important and pressing. The high international impact of the research activities, developed by the project group, confirms the importance of the researched issues and themes, and also the international context and relevance of the achieved results.
Significance for the country
The project will thus contribute to the formation of contemporary policies of social integration on the local and national levels. The results of the project will allow further development of local, regional and national policies and practices as well as development plans fully promoting sustainable development in Slovene border areas and intercultural coexistence, combined with an active preservation of Slovene culture and language in coexistence with other autochthonous and immigrant languages and cultures. The research results also have great useful value for the Slovene and wider European area with regard to the formation of integrated governmental, non-governmental and intergovernmental development policies in the field of spatial and social planning under conditions of the Schengen functional and institutional cross-border cooperation or individual measures/programmes. In general, the implementation of a more harmonious regional development of Slovenia will enable the preservation and progress of the settlement and gravitational potential of Slovene borderlands with regard to macroregional urban centres after Slovenia’s entering the EU and the Schengen area. The project research contents and its promotion of a sustainable spatial and social development of Slovene areas of social and cultural contact will thus contribute to the areas’ integrated governance and thereby preservation and development of natural and cultural heritage. The project will also contribute to the development of a social infrastructure on the local and regional levels, as it will be of assistance in a more adequate planning of both institutional as well as functional cross-border cooperation, while the evaluation of multicultural characteristics of Slovene and other border regions will help raise the level of general cultural development of the studied areas.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2010, 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2010, 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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