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Research programme


Cultural Spaces and Practices: Ethnology and Folklore Studies (2009-2013) 

(Slovenian research Agency, No. P6-0088-0618-04)
Head: Marija Stanonik
Research team: Jurij Fikfak, Maja Godina Golija, Barbara Ivančič Kutin, Naško Križnar, Monika Kropej, Ingrid Slavec Gradišnik; Vanja Huzjan; Saša Babič, Vesna Mia Ipavec, Špela Ledinek Lozej, Saša Poljak Istenič.


Contemporary research paradigms in ethnology and folklore studies reinforce the understanding of the long-term effects of historical developments between the 19th and 21st centuries (the dissolution of feudal system, the enforcement of capitalist production, industrialisation, deagrarization, migration, the period of socialism and postsocialism, the participation in global production, etc.; the changes of states and their borders – from Habsburg monarchy to the independent Slovenia and its EU membership). With reference to those changes conceptualizations of culture and methodologies changed as well. Contemporary research focuses on the spaces, the ambivalences of multiculturalism, and versatile identifications in all the segments of everyday life and in their manifestations on the local, regional, national/ state and transnational level. Namely, cultural heritage, folk culture, identity and specific cultural phenomena as unstable and “in change” categories could not be trapped into limited geographical and social spaces. Ins¬tead, we pay attention to the processual, dynamic aspects, which are evident in cultural continuity and change, vanishing of certain cultural forms, and their re-production, which we recognize in the cultural spaces of social, material and spiritual practices. Thus ethnology encounters multilevel id¬entifications and new use of cultural symbols in differently configured cultural spaces, which are more and more European and global. – New points of view discover new research challenges; they demand constant reflections on research concepts and tools, the participation of a researcher and his/ her responsibility. Openness to diversity is characteristic for all research levels: we do not reflect so much on the physical boundaries of research, fixed identities and old polarisations between them, but more on the tensions between local, global, and transnational respectively, on the transitions bet¬ween them, on the coexistence and the conflicts which arise between the traditional and new. Points of view regarding the problems and methodology are based on internal and external impetuses of scientific production (the continuity of research, inter- and multidisciplinarity, openness to the inter¬national scientific discourses); the interpretations based on empirical results search new ways to un¬derstand cultural practices (including the disciplinary one) and the dynamics of cultural processes.
Research is organized around the following topics:
1. Spaces of the discipline (comparative research on history, theory and methodology of ethnology and folklore studies);
2. Spaces of literary folklore (genre classification of the Slo¬venian literary folklore; the poetics of literary folklore; folklore between text and context; type index of Slovenian fairy tales and folktales; aesthetic structure of Slovenian folklore patterns);
3. Spaces of material culture (research on architecture, dwelling culture, nutri¬tion, economy and material culture of children);
4. Spaces of rituals and identity (Cultural practices of community; manifestations and functions of the ritual at im¬portant festive days, on »borders« and boundaries; va¬rious discourses (political, media and scientific one), namely the “discourses of distinction” and the “unifying discourses”;
5. Visual research (educational model of visual ethnography)
6. Archive of material and intangible heritage (archive of visual documentation, archive of the li¬terary folklore, archive of material culture and archive of ritual prac¬tices).


More about:SICRIS


Research projects


Slovenski pregovori kot kulturna dediščina: klasifikacija in redakcija korpusa (1.5.2010 - 30.4.2013)

(Slovenian Reaeach Agency Grant, No. J6-3600 (C)

  Head:Marija Stanonik
Research group: Saša Babič, Drago Bokal (University of Maribor), Ljudmila Bokal, Stanka Drnovšek, Božena Gabrijelčič, Barbara Ivančič Kutin

 Until recently folklore forms were the most neglected research field of Slovenian literary folkloristics. For several years, systematic attention has therefore been devoted to the most representative genre - proverbs. After publishing a study on their collecting and first reflections on them, systematic copying from old sources started (dictionaries, grammars, museum collections, 19th-century newspapers, manuscript collections in the National and University Library, older and modern Slovenian literature, seminar papers and degree dissertations at the Departments of Slovenian Studies and Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana). We strove to collect contemporary material through collection actions at newspapers, radio and television stations, and field contacts. A model was elaborated for the digitisation (including context where possible) of the proverbs. 893 sources thus yielded over 50,000 digitised Slovenian proverbs, creating the conditions for their research. However, first of all the present collection had to be arranged by:
a) verifing whether all the items in the collected material meet the standards to be considered proverbs (this means that other types of folklore forms or records which fail to meet even that standard, must be eliminated from the material;
b) collecting in one place all the versions and variants of one and the same proverb;
c) working out a model for a sensible structure of the collected material.
For the time being we envisage a classification of the proverbs into chapters, as they are provided by the ethnological classification system of the Ethnological topography of the Slovenian ethnic territory + add chapters based on values (joy, happiness, etc.). This idea however requires further verification. The principal objective of the project at this stage of research into Slovenian proverbs and sayings is a scientific collection with an added scientific apparatus: sources, in-depth scientific commentaries, and a genre definition of this folklore form based on the Slovenian material. This would certainly constitute the original result of the planned project. In addition to standard philologically analytical and ethnological comparative methods,
the extensive nature of the material will also require many statistical operations. The scientific relevance of the work lies in the emphasis that this will be a fundamental work of Slovenian paremiology, and as such a much needed study aid and comparative source for European researches into proverbs.
The social and economic achievement lies in the fact that the envisaged collection will be an encyclopaedia of Slovenian proverbs, useful to a wide range of humanist and social sciences. The techniques used in the classification of Slovenian proverbs can also be used in the processing of similar texts: classification of SMS text messages on mobile phones or user comments on websites. These techniques, verified in the classification of proverbs, may also be useful to other folklore genres and beyond literary folklore. They may among others be used for efficient classification of the questions of users of products or services and sending answers to them; such techniques of artificial intelligence are further useful in any dissemination of public information (public administration, health service, etc.).


Bilateral projects

Folklore Studies - Historical and Recent Researches in Bulgaria and Slovenia


Slovenija: Principal Investigator: J. Fikfak
Project Staff: I. Slavec Gradišnik, S. Babič, S. Poljak Istenič (v letu 2009), V. Huzjan in N. Križnar (2010)
Bolgarija: Principal Investigator: Mila Santova
Project Staff: Vania Ivanova Mateeva, Valentina Ganeva Rajčeva, Vladimir Penčev

Both (Slovenian and Bulgarian) research groups wants to establish more thorough scholarly and inter-institutional cooperation between two central national research institutes for ethnolo-gy and folklore in Slovenia and Bulgaria. The project focuses on: 1) on the comparative history of European national ethnologies, and Folklore Studies; 2) on the thematization of tradition and folklore, its genres, and social communication. Both topic areas interest us at two levels at which the images of cultural dynamics are reproduced: academic discourse and everyday life (the empirical level). To understand cultural dynamics, the concepts of tradition/cultural heritage and cultural identity are central. We view our contribution to elucidating both of these in issues of concrete cultural practices and findings about them through the production of knowledge in ethnological and folklore studies today.