Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Ethnographies of Land and Water Routes: A Comparative Approach to (Im)mobility

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.03.00  Humanities  Anthropology   

Code Science Field
S220  Social sciences  Cultural anthropology, ethnology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
Land and water routes; (im)mobility; southern Albania; Istria; Pomoravje District; spatial anthropology; anthropology of infrastructure.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22570  PhD Nataša Gregorič Bon  Humanities  Head  2014 - 2017  172 
2.  15173  PhD Alenka Janko Spreizer  Humanities  Researcher  2014 - 2017  273 
3.  33016  PhD Ana Jelnikar  Culturology  Researcher  2015 - 2017  259 
4.  20195  PhD Damir Josipovič  Geography  Researcher  2014 - 2017  326 
5.  33600  PhD Urška Kanjir  Geodesy  Researcher  2014 - 2017  90 
6.  15112  PhD Krištof Oštir  Geodesy  Researcher  2014 - 2017  594 
7.  33466  PhD Maja Petrović-Šteger  Humanities  Researcher  2014 - 2017  139 
8.  19251  PhD Nataša Rogelja Caf  Anthropology  Researcher  2014 - 2016  209 
9.  15116  PhD Borut Telban  Anthropology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  425 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0507  Institute for Ethnic Studies  Ljubljana  5051517000  4,502 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  62,908 
3.  1822  University of Primorska, Faculty of Humanities  Koper  1810014001  9,845 
Land and water routes are physical manifestations of human movement in space and time and provide a relevant framework for understanding (im)mobility in different social contexts. The proposed project is a comparative study of southern Albania, Istria (that crosses Slovenia, Croatia and Italy) and Pomoravje (Serbia). The main focus of this project is to study the meanings of routes not only as material manifestations of peoples’ interventions in the environment, but also as expressions of their lives, knowledge, imaginaries, memories, and identification. Land and water routes connect or disconnect places and people’s lives; they either bridge or extend distances between them. In short, they generate various modes of (im)mobility which they on the one hand enable and which in turn define them. One of the core questions is therefore how movements of people, things and ideas define land and water routes and vice versa. People not only use these routes, they also talk about them. In that sense the meaning of routes, such as roads, seaways and river routes, can be seen as a window disclosing peoples’ lives in all the complexity of their social relations. The project is interested precisely in the complex relationship existing between space, place and movement alongside their carriers. Land and water routes are part of infrastructure and our complex sorroundings. Their meaning is not only expressed through peoples’ practices, experiences, memories, narratives, imaginaries etc., but also through the routes as such. The research will combine three approaches: A) Anthropological approach, which will question a) how land and water routes and connections they make influence peoples’ everyday lives; b) how tourism, ecology, local, national and international policies, border-related issues influence routes; c) how the material characteristics of land and water routes “dictate particular forms of their conceptualisation” (Holbraad 2001); here we are going to employ the heurististic approach and “think through routes”. B) Techniques of Remote Sensing – through this approach we will analyse the (non)development of route networks and settlements in the regions under study. C) Human-geography approach will be based on the political and economic analysis of routes and demographic research of specific cities/towns/villages on the land and water routes. Conjoining the quantitative and qualitative approaches into one platform will allow us to more fully understand land and water routes. Leading us from questions about their social and cultural meanings, through heuristic “thinking through routes”, to the question of the “raw”, empirical data about them. This combination of multiple sets of knowledge will draw us nearer to a holistic approach. Modern societies need more than just one theory, more than one analytical methodology, or type of data, in order to achieve a fuller understanding. The research is going to be innovative by content and methodology and will benefit new anthropological directions and directives that are currently developing in spatial anthropology and anthropology of infrastructure throughout the world. As no similar research has been undertaken so far in anthropology, the proposed research represents a novel contribution to the anthropology of land and water routes in Slovenia. The application of the remote sensing techniques will also mean a pioneering contribution to anthropological studies in general. Their role in the anthropological interpretation will be evaluated comprehensively and will enrich both fields, anthropology and spatial studies.
Significance for science
The core research contributions are: A) Study of meanings and roles of the land and water routes in peoples’ lives and their daily practices. People (of different gender, generations, religion, ethnicity, etc.) move differently through routes and give them meanings. (Non)movements through routes are conditioned by political situation and the past of a particular regions under study; administrative rules; economic dynamics; technology and infrastructure; social norms related to age, gender, kinship, etc.; geomorphology, such as soil erosion and other natural events; urbanisation, etc. The research explained which processes, activities, events, most influence the (im)mobility of people through land and water routes. B) Analysis of various modes of movements and nonmovements showed how they are in continuous interplay. C) Land and water routes not only material expressions of the human action but also have agency themselves. In line with the heuristic approach we tried to think through land and water routes. Here we have faced with some methodological constraints led us into new cross-disciplinary methodological findings. D) The pioneering cross-disciplinary method allowed us to bring together three different but interrelated approaches (anthropology, human geography and remote sensing). Our study in southern Albania explained how demographic population movements are interrelated with the geomorphological movements of the landscape. E) From the applicative point of view the findings contributed to the appraisal of remote sensing in anthropology. The new methodological approach we have developed can and will be applied and tested in other geographical locations under study.
Significance for the country
The results of this project engender indirect contributions to the Slovenian society and its academic circles. Namely, movements and mobility on the one hand along with the nonmovements and immobility on the other became part of the everyday life not only in Slovenia but also in other parts of the world. It seems that so far, the Slovenian policy and legal administration have not managed to fully cope with the issues of refuges coming from Syria, other parts of Middle East and the world. The notions such as migration, integration, foreign, autochthonous, belonging, location, home, etc. came to the fore in numerous present-day political, legal, economic and social debates and polemics. But so far it seems that these notions have not managed to resonate their deep and entangled meanings in the Slovenian society. The results of this project explain these notions by pining them to the concrete contexts of everyday life in ASS. In dissolving the ambiguities of their meanings, the notions such as migration, home, belonging, etc. are brought closer to the peoples’ understandings. The results of this project explain how the processes of movements and migrations are reified in traditional social institutions such as home, homeland, kinship, family and how these institutions are redefined precisely through the processes of movements and migrations themselves.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Views history