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Ethnological and Folkloristic Research in Slovenia and in Europe

Basic Info


The research program has been designed as a total of research investigations into culture and the way of life of Slovenians within the European cultural area, with the focus on the 19th and the 20th centuries. It represents a continuation and a more extensive examination of the general research orientation of the Institute of Slovenian Ethnology (ISE) which focuses on material, social, and spiritual culture in the entire Slovenian ethnic territory. Suggested are also new themes and methods, aimed at comparisons with other European countries. Important components of the research program are history and theory of ethnology, visual research, formation of collections, and publications in the form of articles, monographs, films, and on the internet. The project is based on fieldwork, classification, research, and archival preservation of materials and sources. Research field: architecture, dwelling culture, food culture; social communities, family and kinship, neighbor relations, everyday communication, customs of the yearly and life cycles, work customs, interurban and interethnic relations, life along national borders and in areas of transition, national identity prior and after the incorporation of Slovenia into the European Union; literary folklore, proverbs, sayings and riddles, folk narrative, mythology, belief, life stories, contemporary legends, stories of the everyday, tales; history and theory of ethnology. The ISE's central documentation center contains written material, illustrations and photographs, audio and visual material, and fieldwork notes. Audovisual Laboratory is a special unit of the Institute. Its activities are: research of visual production among the minorities in Slovenia and amateur filmmaking; the making of visual documentation in the field and the making of research and ethnographic films; preparation for internet presentation of the Audovisual Laboratory's visual documentation. ISE Library is the central library with written and other material on Slovenian ethnology. Its visual collections contain material from the oldest ethnological film documents to most recent video material.

The research program sets forth researchthemes of the ISE, most of which have had priority status since the Institute's foundation at the beginning of the 1950's (folk narrative, beliefs and mythology, literary foklorie, architecture, food culture, life-cycle and yearly customs) as well as new ones: visual research projects, family and kinship, life stories, theory and history of ethnology. Research is focused on the study of those topics that have not been included into research plans of other institutions. Researchers cooperate with ethnologists from other institutions, museums and institutions for monument protection, and give support to students of ethnology, and Slovenian and foreign researchers who need professional literature, advice, or comparative material for their own research. Institute's collections and research findings represent a wealth of knowledge and information also for non-scholarly institutions and individuals (involved in various cultural projects, teachers who wish to add another dimension to their lectures and classes, or artists in search of inspiration in folk heritage). Of special importance is the research in the neighboring countries (Italy, Austria, Hungary); in the past, the Institute has significantly contributed to the knowledge of Slovenian culture among the neighboring majority nations as well as international ethnological experts. Aside from acting as supervisors to the undergraduate and postgraduate students of ethnology the Institute's researchers lecture at the universities in Ljubljana, Maribor, and Koper.

The Institute's program team continues the research with which the ISEsignificantly contributed to an increase of knowledge about the way of life and folk culture in Slovenia. Its findings have also been recognized and appreciated by the neighboring countries with a Slovenian minority, and in international academic circles. European and international experts have been able to learn about phenomena from material, social, and spiritual culture of Slovenians; findings about architecture, food culture, customs, plays, narratives, literary folklore, and ethnographic film production have significantly enriched European ethnologies. By becoming part of the European Union Slovenia is no longer divided by borders. A continuation of ethnological and folkloristic research in areas formerly along and across the borders of Slovenia shall undoubtedly greatly contribute to the understanding of the formation of the new Europe. The Institute's program team is included in various international projects. Individual program team members, who are members of various international expert associations and committees covering different fields, present and publish papers and articles in foreign publications. Traditiones (since 1972), a yearly journal of the Institute , has an international editorial board; aside from the findings that are the result of the Institute's various research projects it publishes contributions of different international experts. Since 1998, and in co-operation with the University of Udine, the Institute also publishes an international journal Studia mythologica Slavica.

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