Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Sociological aspects of sustainable sociospatial and manpower development of Slovenia in Europe

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.03.00  Social sciences  Sociology   
5.02.00  Social sciences  Economics   

Code Science Field
S210  Social sciences  Sociology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
5.02  Social Sciences  Economics and Business 
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (7)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  06124  MSc Irena Brinar  Political science  Technical associate  2014  171 
2.  12652  PhD Marjan Hočevar  Sociology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  309 
3.  09735  PhD Drago Kos  Sociology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  562 
4.  24382  PhD Samo Pavlin  Sociology  Head  2013 - 2016  217 
5.  15319  PhD Franc Trček  Sociology  Researcher  2013 - 2014  333 
6.  22511  PhD Matjaž Uršič  Sociology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  343 
7.  16405  PhD Simona Zavratnik  Sociology  Researcher  2013 - 2016  234 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,369 
To date the research into sustainable development has exposed and questioned the big gap between the set objectives and the real dynamics of achieving them. Several reasons have been established for the setbacks in the implementation of this relatively radical concept. The environmental framework is more or less given, physically determined and delimited, and primarily has to be protected, since we can hardly “develop" it. What we can do is to develop the built environment, but this takes place over very long periods. Any policy has relatively little room to manoeuvre in its governance. To accelerate the process it is essential to engage manpower resources in the research field. Radical changes to the existing unsustainable patterns and routines are very unlikely. Without adequate adaptation of this malleable resource, sustainable development will remain an empty political buzzword with a short-lived mobilisation potential. We can hardly expect “old school” people, ossified and therefore inert institutions, to enthusiastically introduce radical sustainable models. The second reason, why it is essential to include research into human resources in the spatial and environmental studies of sustainable development, are the new employment options facilitated by the introduction of sustainable innovations. Seen from the viewpoint of political legitimacy these options are probably the most promising promotional strategy for sustainable development. The employment options of a sustainable development model are real already and they will very likely increase substantially. In this perspective, environment protection is not only a constraining circumstance for many development projects, but a development opportunity that creates new jobs. Even more obvious is the employment potential of sustainable spatial planning, in particular if we consider in this context all the so-called spatially intensive (infrastructural) subsystems like transport, telecommunications, the energy sector, construction, mining, agriculture, etc. Provided that a sustainable development orientation is not merely a temporary political slogan, but a serious long-term development perspective, it would not be exaggerated to expect “employability” to become essentially dependent on adequate sustainable criteria in the future. Considering the low operational capacity of the political subsystem, especially for the legitimate introduction of changes, it is also relevant to explore scenarios in which sustainable development is limited to temporary rhetorical effects, while the real social processes will remain largely dependent on “invisible hands” operating in the short term. The key research question then is the impact of “human resources” on the feasibility of the environmental and spatial dimensions of sustainable development. Another priority in this framework is the research into spatial mobility and the legitimation of risky technologies.
Significance for science
The research into “sustainable development (SD) in environmental, spatial, educational, and employment systems” opened up many theoretical and development dilemmas, which we have dealt with in more or less greater detail. The legitimation deficit and related implementation deficit is one of the most important reasons why the new development paradigm fails to replace the non-sustainable, (neo) liberal paradigm. The stagnation is worsened by unsolved conceptual dilemmas, among which a highly topical issue: how to harmonize functional pragmatic development aspects with ethical judgements. Technology can above all show us instrumental efficiency, i.e. the capacity to make things. But it is much harder to arrive at an unambiguous answer to the question whether whatever we are doing holds up to ethical judgement. In this context, is it increasingly judged that that a development paradigm that is largely based on technology and the market is not sustainable, because we cannot imagine its globalization without changing some of its elements ,which are, however, essential to its efficiency. And this of course opens up a fundamental debate on the credibility and legitimacy of the “new great story”, which professes to be the new universal development paradigm. In spite of its high complexity, the debate should be as inclusive as possible, i.e. it should deal – in the most ambitious perspective - coherently and comprehensively with the cognitive, social, cultural, economic, technological, and ethical dimensions of development in the global framework. Given the broad range of the debate, it makes sense to examine from the very beginning the role the traditional mechanisms of production and reproduction of the existing social systems, e.g. the educational system, have in widening, legitimating, and implementing the radical ideas of SD. This is, of course, a hugely extensive and complex project, which we have addressed in a circular way since it is practically impossible to tackle it linearly from an “imaginary” beginning to an indefinable end. If we address the matter according to the rules of modern analytical rationality, i.e. selectively by individual elements, we already renounce comprehensive reflection from the beginning, as well as comprehensive identification of interwoven development dilemmas. The problem of analytical reductionism is a generic epistemological problem of all research and interpretation approaches, and to some extent it can be reduced by initiating reflexivity - the critical mechanism of modern social systems. This mechanism contributes feedback information on the operation of individuals and institutions. Particularly interesting is the finding that reflexivity is also subject to reflexivity, and this produces a continuous flow of repeated re-examination and verification of the rationality and efficiency of operation. Strengthening reflection also makes sense because it reduces the influence of ideological recidivism. Equally sensible is the analysis of analysis, i.e. the sociology of sociology, science of science. Here the research runs into a methodological problem. Reflective processing of a continuous stream of information in principle never ends, because it is a cyclical process of continuous processing and verifying of information. The introduction of sustainable contents into the education system is therefore almost inevitably biased or reductionist. And this impacts on the development of human resources in the field of SD and at the general level. These issues definitely touch upon competence development, understanding the differences and similarities between professional disciplines, the cooperation between employers and educational institutions, and the relationship between the individual's knowledge, his formal education, and actual job. To understand these issues it is important to know about the transition of the young from the sphere of education to the labour market.
Significance for the country
The research programme supports approaches which assume that sustainable development is the productive synthesis of social (cultural), environmental, and economic measures and represents the only continuous activity in Slovenia that brings together the following issues: Conceptual reflections on SD: important changes, referred to in theoretical studies as a “participatory shift”, show in the relationship between experts and the public, where the patronising, elitist attitude of the “experts” toward “lay” groups (of the public) has been changing into a more inclusive, partnership relation. Ecology. Ecological reflections were driven by the thesis on the lack of reflexivity and integration of ecological concepts in the neoliberal development model. In the name of environment protection objectives, new hierarchies emerge and existing ones are strengthened, depriving the desired policies of the dimensions of social justice, equal treatment, and broader democratic participation. Urbanization. We continued to research the processes of urbanisation, settlement typologies, and the dilemmas in the relationship between the rural and urban environments, urban trends and dynamics in local Slovene environments, reflecting on these sociological features in the context of contemporary global as well as ecological (mega) trends. Studying “classical SD topics”. These are constant themes, the likes of sustainable mobility, traffic policies, nuclear waste management, including the public in discussion on use, spatial positioning of structures, urban renewal, the development of high technology and ecological residential buildings, etc., as well as some more recent social issues. Integrative, multilevel research into mobility: Here we have researched social inequities and power, social inclusion and exclusion, and the marginalisation of vulnerable social groups, especially refugees, migrants, and ethnic minorities. Human resource and competence development: both are related to establishing systems of education and employment. The programme group connects the research in Slovenia with the international environment. The results are published in numerous scientific journals and monographs, presented at international and domestic conferences, symposia, and meetings of expert groups in the fields of environmental, ecological, spatial, educational and human resource themes. As guest (co-) editors we have prepared several thematic volumes and participated in international projects.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2013, 2014, 2015, final report
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