Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Heritage of the First World War: Representations and Reinterpretations

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.04.00  Humanities  Ethnology   

Code Science Field
S220  Social sciences  Cultural anthropology, ethnology 

Code Science Field
5.04  Social Sciences  Sociology 
World War I, heritage, commemorations, rituals, social memory, nationalism, identity
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (17)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  20004  PhD Tatiana Bajuk Senčar  Ethnology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  176 
2.  26523  PhD Alenka Bartulović  Ethnology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  282 
3.  04620  PhD Jurij Fikfak  Ethnology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  377 
4.  09065  PhD Vito Hazler  Ethnology  Researcher  2016  887 
5.  06666  PhD Jože Hudales  Anthropology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  387 
6.  08426  PhD Božidar Jezernik  Ethnology  Head  2016 - 2018  1,277 
7.  29896  MSc Anja Kolak  Political science  Technical associate  2017 - 2018  25 
8.  30648  PhD Miha Kozorog  Anthropology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  292 
9.  20327  PhD Boštjan Kravanja  Anthropology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  230 
10.  50830  PhD Anja Moric  Ethnology  Technical associate  2017 - 2018  135 
11.  14294  PhD Rajko Muršič  Anthropology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  1,894 
12.  23225  Miha Peče    Technical associate  2016 - 2018  180 
13.  27631  PhD Dan Podjed  Ethnology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  654 
14.  22414  PhD Jaka Repič  Anthropology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  373 
15.  21097  PhD Peter Simonič  Anthropology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  383 
16.  09443  PhD Ingrid Slavec Gradišnik  Humanities  Researcher  2016 - 2018  555 
17.  12071  PhD Mitja Velikonja  Culturology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  789 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,836 
2.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,348 
3.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,112 
This project will examine the production and maintenance of social memory of WWI in the Slovene region of the Kingdom SCS as well as in Italian and Austrian lands with Slovene residents. In doing so, we will be interested in examining the ways that social memory of the war is diversely defined, focusing on the positionality of individual countries (winners and losers), the partiality and politics of memory, and the range of strategies for preserving memory given the diversity, contradictions and contesteded nature of memories.   1.MILITARY CEMETARIES AND MONUMENTS   In the Kingdom SCS, Serbian military victories were celebrated with monuments built with state support while the memories of the Austro-Hungarian military tradition were relegated to obscurity. Erecting monuments to fallen soldiers of various ethnicities became a secular ritual that supported either “official” or “subversive” political values. Researchers will compile a register of such monuments, identifying who built them and when, how they were interpreted, what stories are linked to them, and who participates at the commemorations that take place at the monuments.   After 1918, the tomb of the unknown soldier became one of the most distinctive expressions of social memory, which is evident in these monuments’ central location in state capitals of countries that participated in WWI. Slovene veterans began to plan such a collective memorial in 1927 in Brezje instead of the capital of Ljubljana, as it was easier to hold ceremonies as apolitical, pious events at such a memorial in Brezje, a pilgramage site. However, the outbreak of WWII interrupted such plans. We will with the aid of available resources research the monuments built to fallen soliders in order to examine the symbolic meaning of the plans of the Slovenian monument built for the unknown soldier, which elsewhere are otherwise located in state capitals.   2. COMMEMORATIVE PRACTICES   The end of WWI brought with it a new reality with new heroes and new practices of forgetting. We will pay particular attention to commemorative practices and the practices of producing as well as modifying memories of the beginning of the war, both in Slovenia as well as in other parts of the former Yugoslavia.   Numerous commemorative ceremonies in the first years after the war were of an exclusionary nature, emphasizing their as state- or nation-building function Ritual ceremonies helped build an image of a monolithic state that defines itself in opposition to the Other. The nationalisation of space and peoples took place in this manner in all four countries in which Slovenes lived.   Research will be focused on the development of ritual practices and recollections of the war in all these countries, including both the strategies of majority populations (official, media and common sense discourses) as well as the counterstrategies of Slovene minority residents.    3.CONTEMPORARY (RE)INTERPRETATIONS OF WWI   Memories of WWI remained in the shadows of WWII virtually until 1991. This section is examines the distinctiveness of contemporary WWI memorials, their position, and their function within the broader physical and social landscape as elements of heritage. In particular, we will focus on the landscape along the Isonzo Front.   We will identify the diverse perspectives, agendas and roles that local social actors and institutions have in shifting constructions of social memory by focusing on their interactions and their activities in producing such heritage elements as well as on the numerous discourses through which this diversity is articulated. We will also assess through comparative work the role that contemporary Europeanisation processes play in reframing wartime social memories in terms of a common history and a message of global peace.
Significance for science
The project will provide new insights into WWI and the production of social memory in Slovenia. At the broadest level these insights are linked to the question of the relationship between discourses and practices and how it informs one of the fundamental turning points in Slovenian, European and world history. In this context, it will be important to compare project findings with research conducted in the field of cultural history abroad (Winter Moose) as well as in the field of history in Slovenia (Svoljšak) in order to properly contextualize our findings and also supplement or modify them if necessary. Researchers will re-asseess existing insights as well as their own field research from the perspective of three major sets of issues (which are new for the Slovene context). The first is from the perspective of monuments and tombs as they are linked to the materialization of memories and their continual renovations as they are carried out in diverse forms and to varied ends. The second concerns focusing on the different kinds of discourses (official, media/public, common sense, sub-cultural), narratives, and memories (collective, individual, social) and their inappopriate, often essentialized, use in scientific/academic writings. This includes the first in-depth analysis in Slovenia of inclusive and exctractive strategies employed in commemorative practices, which can either affirm (Concordia et Pax) or negate (CasaPound) peaceful coexistence in Europe. The third concerns implementing the concept of social landscapes in order to develop an integral approach to the study of situated contemporary WWI memorials and the links between them and the existing range of diverse actors and institutions involved in producing, maintaining, modifying and promoting these memorials.
Significance for the country
We can summarise the direct impacts of the project in the following points: 1. At the the most general level, the project will contribute to the fundamental/basic knowledge concerning society from the ethnological point of view. These findings are significant for Slovenian national development and the positioning of Slovenia in a broader European context. 2. We will shed light on the role of existing understandings and social memories of WWI as significant elements of national and European identity and contribute to raising the visibility of these elements through dissemination in scientific/academic circles as well as the broader public sphere. 3. The academic and expert examination of past practices linked to constructing and commemorating the past will enable us to contribute to a better understanding and management of social processes and risks; in addition, it will enable us to identify and highlight the positive, affirmative practices in processes taking place both in Slovenia as well as in the broader, European context. 4. Research findings resulting from the collaboration among ethnologists and other members of the research team will contribute to a more nuanced understanding of broader international processes that transcend the competences of individual expert fields (historiography, political science). 5. An important dimension of the project is dissemination of knowledge of Slovenian cultural heritage to the international community. We will conduct research both at the national and transnational levels, defining those elements of heritage linked to WWI signicant to Slovenian national identity, including at the levels of the European Union and other international contexts. At the same time we will focus on elements of heritage from other nations (Javorca, Russian chapel) located in Slovenia, their preservation and their placement in the calendar of European events. 6. We will expand and strengthen the network of local and private museums or collections, building upon the work done in this vein also in previous projects (including the European projekt Zbor zbirk - Cultural Heritage between the Alps and the Karst (Cross Border Cooperation Programme Italia – Slovenia 2007–2013 -- 2012–2015). In this manner we will contribute to the revitalization, preservation and promotion of local cultural heritage.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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