Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Textbooks as Tools for Shaping the Geographical Imagination of Slovenian landscapes

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.12.02  Humanities  Geography  Social geography 

Code Science Field
S230  Social sciences  Social geography 

Code Science Field
6.05  Humanities  Other humanities 
Slovenia, geography, landscape, landscape perception, geographical imagination, education, school curricula, textbooks, graphical material, visuality
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (15)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  33273  PhD Mateja Ferk  Humanities  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  173 
2.  12676  PhD Jerneja Fridl  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  711 
3.  08467  PhD Matej Gabrovec  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  589 
4.  23948  PhD Primož Gašperič  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  180 
5.  30366  PhD Mojca Ilc Klun  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  186 
6.  07553  PhD Drago Kladnik  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  1,158 
7.  33393  PhD Tatjana Novak Šubara  Social sciences  Researcher  2013  92 
8.  08294  PhD Drago Perko  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  1,032 
9.  25646  PhD Primož Pipan  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  318 
10.  29392  PhD Katarina Polajnar Horvat  Humanities  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  143 
11.  16234  PhD Tatjana Resnik Planinc  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  491 
12.  16050  PhD Aleš Smrekar  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  392 
13.  26379  PhD Mateja Šmid Hribar  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  271 
14.  17073  PhD Mimi Urbanc  Humanities  Principal Researcher  2011 - 2014  439 
15.  33837  Manca Volk Bahun  Humanities  Researcher  2011 - 2014  308 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,362 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  59,808 
The project idea is based on the premise that landscapes consist not only of tangible (material) elements, but that they also contain intangible, experiential (mental, imaginary) elements. This is why the study focuses on schoolchildren’s geographical notions about Slovenian landscapes and establishes the impact of syllabuses for particular subjects, textbooks, and additional teaching materials/aids on these. It proceeds from the assumption that graphic representations such as photographs and maps play an important role in shaping and preserving individual and collective perceptions of landscapes and that geography as a discipline is closely connected with the visual, representational world. The landscape is understood not only as the mosaic of what one actually sees, but also of what is inside people’s heads; that is, their construct of the world. An exceptionally important role in shaping this construct is played by schooling and all of the information transmitted during this time. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the impact of schooling on people’s spatial perceptions (analyses of curricula, questionnaires and interviews, drawing mind maps, etc.) will encompass all three levels of the education process: institutional/formal (the syllabus), implementation (textbooks and additional teaching materials/aids), and, most importantly, the cognitive level, as well as how these levels are interconnected. The empirical part will be carried out with the ATLAS.ti program, which offers computer-supported interpretive analysis. The research goal is to establish what kind of image of Slovenian landscapes is created by the curriculum and the teaching goals of textbooks and additional teaching materials/aids on the one hand, and how the school population perceives landscapes, on the other, and the interconnectedness of these. We want to know if certain obvious constructs, in particular concepts of "alpine" and "rural", are rooted in the curricula and textbooks, and to what extent they are present among today's young population. The study findings will be a good starting point for planning changes in illustrating and presenting of Slovenian landscapes in schools, which would contribute to a more mature attitude toward landscapes and a deeper understanding of their (re)shaping in the long term. All of this will lead to shaping spatial identity and improving connections and coexistence between people and the landscape.
Significance for science
This project was oriented toward research areas that are relatively little studied both in Slovenia and Europe as a whole, and so the findings filled in some gaps in the study of perceptions of space and how individuals and societies identify with the landscapes they live in. It helped open up a new realm of geographic knowledge at the national level, one that overlaps with the area of psychological imagination of space in some ways. The findings will be disseminated to a broad international audience through publication in recognized Slovenian and international journals which are still in preparation New, innovative approaches were used in the study. They broadened the horizons in an area that has not been studied much in Slovenia and improved upon methods for studying the geographical imagination of Slovenian landscapes. The results added to what is known about the impact of the school system on the geographical imagination of landscapes. We defined Slovenian landscapes as the youth in Slovenia perceive them, thus contributing to the development of humanities approaches in Slovenian geography. The results contribute to understanding the lives of people and social groups and their inner? spatiality. We have stimulated scholarly dialogue on the geographical imagination, primarily on methodologies, terminology, and concrete findings in this area. We introduced new methodological models and solutions into geography and filled gaps in the study of graphic materials that have been previously entirely overlooked, despite the fact that geographers are well aware of their power. The project has offered material in database form (e.g., a list of teaching material, a selection of photographs) that will serve as a scholarly source for new research; for example, for the study of national identity.
Significance for the country
Building national identity In Slovenia’s Development Strategy, which is its key development document, the need to build a national identity is mentioned in various places. This includes people’s perceptions of space. Thus a direct impact of this project can be seen in its promotion of national identity, which drives economic, spatial, and social development. Into the strategy there is the commentary: ?Visions, goals, strategic measures and action plans in and of themselves do not lead to success. This can happen only through the people and values that direct development? (Slovenia’s Development Strategy 2005, p. 14). The Development Strategy also gives special attention to national identity in its fifth developmental priority, which defines the following with regard to connecting measures for achieving sustainable development: ?Slovenia should become a place where the world meets, while national identity should form the foundation for self-confident entry into world networks? (Slovenia’s Development Strategy 2005, p. 21). Such projects can definitely support national identity and values. Guidelines for illustrations in school textbooks This project goes beyond the merely academic realm because its results also have practical value. The findings are directly useful for publishers of school textbooks and workbooks. The synthesized monograph will be a good starting point for publishers considering the most appropriate graphic material in school textbooks and workbooks. Applicability of research findings for future studies in various areas The project findings could be valuable for further use and additional study for: - Various research institutions in their work; - Slovenia’s Institute of Education in developing curricula; - Administrative bodies at the state and regional levels, as guidelines for their prudent decision-making regarding various spatial interventions; and – -Tourism organizations in planning promotional material for Slovenia. Raising awareness of the values of individual landscapes The project findings enable better awareness among young people about the values of individual landscapes and their understanding of sustainable development trends. Thus this project is just one of the tiles in the mosaic of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2015) being led by UNESCO. Preservation of Slovenia’s natural and cultural heritage Because of the exceptionally rich natural and cultural heritage that is interconnected in many places, cultural landscapes also fall into the category of Slovenia’s immoveable cultural heritage. From the perspective of preserving natural and cultural heritage, it is therefore important that people be made aware of the values of the spaces in which they live, that they avoid introducing inappropriate models from elsewhere into their local landscapes, and that their imagination of landscapes be in line with sustainable spatial development. Given all of this, it is important that this project clarifies young people’s cognitive landscape perceptions because they are creators of future. International Cooperation The project opened up some opportunities for further collaboration. It was presented at the international conference and the PI has been using some findings in preparing a joint paper (together with several colleagues from different countries) for a prominent international journal. Young researchers 2 junior (so called young) researchers were included in the project. Another PhD candidate (without formal status of young researcher) was deeply involved in the project. All three of them successfully defended their doctor thesis.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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