Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Phenomenon of Border Rivers

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.01.00  Humanities  Historiography   

Code Science Field
H240  Humanities  Contemporary history (circa 1800 to 1914) 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
border river, borders, border studies, environmental history, political history, historical discourse analysis, Mura, Drava, Sava, Kolpa, Sotla, Dragonja, Čabranka, Idrija, Kučnica
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  27510  PhD Mateja Breg Valjavec  Geography  Researcher  2016 - 2017  191 
2.  30791  PhD Rok Ciglič  Geography  Researcher  2016 - 2017  417 
3.  06406  PhD Zdenko Čepič  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  444 
4.  24282  PhD Filip Čuček  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  175 
5.  33273  PhD Mateja Ferk  Geography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  194 
6.  00840  PhD Aleš Gabrič  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  863 
7.  08394  PhD Bojan Godeša  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  456 
8.  07553  PhD Drago Kladnik  Geography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  1,163 
9.  29513  PhD Aleksander Lorenčič  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2016  331 
10.  25646  PhD Primož Pipan  Humanities  Researcher  2014 - 2017  327 
11.  12928  PhD Nevenka Troha  Historiography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  379 
12.  21670  PhD Marko Zajc  Historiography  Head  2014 - 2017  346 
13.  22245  PhD Matija Zorn  Geography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  1,226 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0501  Institute for Contemporary History  Ljubljana  5057116000  5,218 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,500 
Rivers were not invented by people: they are natural phenomena with their own dynamics, and can never be completely controlled. However, border rivers are different: they are social and political concepts that the people "assign" to natural rivers. The basic goal of the project is to explore the relationship between "natural" rivers and the concept of border rivers, using selected examples. According to the classic sociological definition of the border (G. Simmel), borders are not a spatial fact with social effects, but a social fact manifesting itself in space. Borders have a twofold character: they are a consequence of historical and political processes as well as originators of social order (M. Eigmüller). Border rivers are a social fact as well, but they are essentially defined by "natural" rivers. Due to natural fluvial processes (changing river beds, floods, drying up), border rivers function "on their own", "speak for themselves", and their "activities" have social consequences. On the other hand, human activities also influence rivers. Therefore, in terms of methodology, the research will be divided into two parts: a) Social and political space through time - Structures. The beginnings of the modernisation processes in the 18th century changed the nature of border rivers (direct penetration of the state administration to the periphery – without patrimonial intermediaries, mercantilist economy). Administrative borders became indicators of power that the state exerted over its societies. The processes of precise planning and defining of the borders began – cadastral measurements, commissions for the demarcation between states and provinces. Archive documents about border disputes represent an excellent source for analysing the relations between the state structures and the situation "in the field"; - Agents. Various agents are involved in border rivers. In the context of the research the significance and role of the members of certain categories of people or groups will be analysed: land surveyors, officials, landowners, journalists, politicians. The profession of land surveyor as a new producer of knowledge has to be especially underlined. - Representations/discourses. The representations/discourses regarding border rivers will be analysed in connection with the concept of "natural borders", whereby we intend to apply the methods of conceptual history (R. Koselleck) and historical discourse analysis. The concept of natural borders was already known in the antiquity, and since the 16th century the European monarchies have often justified their aspirations by striving to reach the "natural borders" (P. Sahlins, F. Zwiter). With the development of the modern state, nationalisms became the way of perceiving, interpreting and representing the social world (R. Brubaker). Slovenian nationalism emphasised the borders with Germans and Italians, while Croats were seen as Slavic allies. After 1991 the border with Croatia has been emphasised in the Slovenian public. Drawing up short "discourse biographies" of border rivers for the period of the last two centuries on the basis of newspaper/publicist resources will represent an important part of the project. b) Natural geographic space through time - Past changes of river beds. Natural geographic studies of selected rivers on the basis of geographic research; - Relationship between river beds and demarcation lines. The comparison between the changing river beds and the changing demarcation lines represents an important part of the project and will be carried out by means of GIS (geographic information system) and georeferencing of the cartographic materials; - Anthropogenic impact on rivers. Rivers in proximity of people call for certain activities: regulation, strengthening of the banks, building bridges. Such activities require communication and coordination between two entities, separated by the river. Relevant ri
Significance for science
At the methodological level our research represents a novelty in the international research space, and it could also be relevant for undertaking the research of other border rivers around Europe – especially because it brings together two aspects that border river studies usually focus on separately: the "historical-geographic life of border rivers" and the "discoursive-ideological life of border rivers". With our study wehave proven that these two aspects exist in an interesting mutual dependence.
Significance for the country
- Helping the Slovenian state regarding border issues. - An original contribution to the history of Slovenian borders, transcending nationalist perspective.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
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