ZRS Koper is a lead organisation in four research programmes and a partner institution in further two.

Areas of Cultural Contact in Integration Processes (P6-0279)

The study of concurrent processes of social and spatial convergence and divergence is turning into a key factor for understanding the possibility of not only horizontal, but also vertical integration in Europe, and therefore of the decelerating and stimulating elements and factors of the new European paradigm “Unity in Diversity.” The present research programme will try to study the complexity of the problems proposed using a combined and coordinated approach of internationally acclaimed Slovene researchers from the fields of political geography, social sciences and humanities, thus deepening and expand the work that has been successfully started and conducted within the research programme “Areas of Cultural Contact in Integration Processes,” ended in 2012.

We can say that in this area, the members of the programme group have already proven a very good integration into the international currents studying the abovementioned topics, and that the impact of their works has already ensured a contribution of Slovene science to the theoretical system and to discovering the basic dilemmas of our current situation, as well as to their applicative solution to the benefit of our common future. The research results achieved by the programme group members have also helped the University of Primorska establish itself in a broader international environment as probably the most important Slovene centre for investigating various aspects of multiculturality, and thus increase its international visibility. The study of issues related to ethnicity, cultural identity and cultural assimilation or cultural pluralism and intercultural dialogue is closely connected with and directly addresses the acquisition of adequate knowledge and information that represent the basis for designing a national cultural policy with the aim of preserving national identity, but also ensuring a sustainable spatial and social development of Slovene contact zones in broader European and integration contexts.

With its research contents, the programme has so far already enabled the evaluation of traditionally ore peripheral areas of social and cultural contact, in particular the border areas and local communities of western Slovenia following its accession to the European Union. It will have a direct positive effect on the building of more sustainable development patterns in the fields of space, environment, economy, society and culture, and will, together with other projects of the University of Primorska, deepen the strategies of studying and teaching intercultural communication. The goals of the programme are, on the one hand, to enable the understanding of the model of institutional and perceptive changes influenced by transnational, integration and global criteria in local, regional and
national environments, and on the other, to facilitate the acquaintance with semantic, structural and technological levels of the contents studied within the context of development of the European society of knowledge and processes of identity reconfiguration in the period after joining European integrations. In addition to the cognitive part of research, representing a continuation of the interdisciplinary studies of cultural contact zones in the processes of integration and globalisation, we intend to strengthen in particular the synthetic capacities for developing new integrated “managing” policies in the fields of multiculturality, and social and spatial integration within a broader international context.


ARRS Code: P6-0279

Period: 1. 1. 2014 – 31. 12. 2019

Programme leader: Milan Bufon, PhD, Principal Research Fellow

Slovenia and the Mediterranean (P6-0272)

The aim of the programme entitled “The Mediterranean and Slovenia” is to continue the studies dealing with Primorska liminality as reflected in the interaction of Mediterranean and central European social and economic systems and institutions, various types of administration and structural characteristics of Primorska towns, social and production relations, legal systems and other differences, which resulted in multilateral blending of cultures on the one hand, and in antagonisms and consequently social, interethnic and international conflicts on the other.

The programme will analyze political, social and demographical changes in this border area from the perspective of “long duration”. The analysis will take into account the multifaceted dependence of this area on various policies (economic, demographical, social, etc.) and radical political changes, which affected it throughout its history. The issues addressed will be dealt with not only from the point of view of political and diplomatic shifting of borders, but also from the economic, social, ethnic, cultural and civilizational perspectives.

The programme will include the analysis of architectural remains and material culture, the aim of which is to reconstruct settlement patterns and to define broader historical and economic processes. It will also investigate the social and cultural history of town-run institutions, the issue of imposing social discipline and control, crises and their management, the solutions to social issues and the development of social policies, and other significant aspects of social life.
The research into contemporary history will shed light on totalitarian and authoritative ideologies (“border fascism”, “border socialism”) and regimes in Primorska, international dimensions of resistance movement during WWII, and the transformation of the social structure as a result of political changes, with special emphasis on the re-population of the coastal area and the formation of the new social reality. The researchers will also address the key issues of divided memory in this border area.

The programme will continue to systematically collect and register different types of sources kept by Slovene and foreign archives, as well as to update and upgrade the existing databases, which will serve as a basis for further research into historical demography and social history. Special attention will be paid to archival materials that shed a new light on even the most disputed issues related to the common past.

Methodologically speaking, the programme group will aspire to surpass nationally centered narratives by employing the comparative and transnational approaches, as well as the so called ‘histoire croisée’. It will perform quantitative analyses, employ quality reading of historical materials, and carry out data cross-comparisons. Placing special emphasis on relations between the centre and the peripheral/border areas, the research will be pronouncedly comparative in nature.


ARRS Code: P6-0272

Period: 1. 1. 2015 – 31. 12. 2019

Programme leader: Acad. Jože Pirjevec, PhD, Principal Research Fellow

Kinesiology for Quality of Life (P5-0381)

Kinesiology for quality of life is gaining on the importance. With evolution and technological development we started neglecting one of fundamental biological needs-movement, and forgotten about the important role it plays and the effects that it has on our the health and function. The general lack of physical activity (PA), the ageing of the population, the earlier onset of degenerative processes, a sedentary lifestyle, an unbalanced diet, environmental and ergonomic effects and extreme workload are factors that directly affect the individual’s performance and efficiency and quality of life. The spiral model of effects of physical inactivity (PI) puts at its base 3 fundamental factors: the lack of PA and motor competences and obesity. These factors often work simultaneously, and lead to irrational PA, excessive energy consumption and rapid fatigue, and consequently manifest in negative physical and motor self-esteem, which affect the quality of life, and the alienation from social activity. Based on theoretical considerations and sci. evidence, we established a framework for further research through the prism of 3 periods of motor development: (1) of establishing motor competences; (2) of the usage of motor competences; and (3) of preserving motor competences. Few are aware of the need to consider PI separately from PA. Experts rank PI at the top of the list of mortality factors. In our important publication, we reported that there is a strong combined effect of ageing and PI on the parameters that influence the overall health and causes irreversible changes on the skeletal muscle. In the future, we will be centered on the study of the skeletal muscle adaptation mechanisms to chronic exercise and PI in relation to age, gender and the environment. To achieve this, we will continue to develop new non-invasive diagnostic methods of muscle properties. Since we have used innovative solutions for measuring skeletal muscle properties 15 years ago, we can repeat these measurements on the same population and respond to the causal relationship of the muscle properties developments from childhood to adulthood. We will moreover focus on interventions, based on a greater exploitation of the existing school curriculum, and later also on the introduction of interventions to increase PA. We will study the mechanisms of sports injuries (and predictions), rehabilitation and safe return to sport. We will also be interested in kinesiologic-ergonomic factors of health in the workplace, as the working environment is an example of existing cohorts, in the scope of which we can look for good practice of health care. The effects of ageing or countering the aging and comorbidity will be analyzed through controlled experiments of dimensioning of exercise for different target groups on which to base the development of clinical kinesiology. We believe that the latter will offer young generations a new branch of education, profession and employment opportunities.


ARRS CodeP5-0381

Period: 1. 1. 2017 – 31. 12. 2021

Programme leader: Rado Pišot, PhD, Principal Research Fellow

Slovenhood Dimensions between Local and Global at the Beginning of the Third Millennium (P5-0409)

ARRS Code: P5-0409

Period: 1. 1. 2019 – 31. 12. 2024

Programme leader: Vesna Mikolič, PhD, Principal Research Fellow

Asian Languages and Cultures (P6-0243)

The proposed research program represents a continuation and elaboration of previous research work of the program group Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (P-60243). Due to lack of developmental funding we are facing within humanities, the segment of African studies could not be developed enough to ensure competent experts in this field. However, in spite of meager developmental funding the period 2009-13 marks an expansion from narrow Chinese and Japanese studies to Indian and Korean studies as well. New specialists have joined the group thus considerably extending the scope of planned research. It needs to be emphasized that Korean studies are thus newly established in Slovenia at the level of research and as a new study course on offer at the Department of Asian and African Studies, FF UL.  Besides, the Asian region represents an increasingly important area of explosive economic development, as well as political and social transitions, influencing not only the inner structure of Asian societies, but also international relations at a global level. Thus, our research work remains focused upon a narrower, but in depth study of Asian regions. In this sense, we propose to rename the program into Asian Languages and Cultures.

The basic design of the proposed program is directed towards investigations of historical developments, political and economic circumstances, cultural and linguistic characteristics of Asian societies. This interdisciplinary program includes studies drawing on various disciplines, as part of a broader field of humanities and social studies. It attempts to synthesize a series of partial studies, dealing with various aspects of Asian regions in terms of the relation between ideal and material paradigms defining their social realities. Studies will include analyses and evaluations of material in native languages, as well as build on information, data and theoretical paradigms available in Western literature. This approach is of fundamental importance, since use of primary sources in native languages enables us to gain a more objective insight into the reality of societies in question. Members of the program group have active knowledge of Chinese, Japanese and Korean, Hindi and Sanskrit.

However, within the program Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Indian studies are mainly cultural studies, rather than philological ones.

Research will focus on core problems, defining prevailing models of perceiving and transmitting social and individual realities as bases in forming various cultural identities. A better understanding of these identities will represent a valuable contribution to the improvement of relations between Slovenia and the Asian countries. We expect a scientific proof that isolated studies dealing with different political, economic, cultural, linguistic and theoretical elements within Asian regions are inadequate, if based on individualized axiological and epistemological criteria deriving from comparable Western models.


ARRS Code: P6-0243

Period: 1. 1. 2014 – 31. 12. 2024

Programme leader: Prof. Jana Rošker, PhD

Social Contract in the 21st Century: Historical-Sociological, Philosophical-Ethical and Educational Aspects (P6-0400)

This research program investigates explications of the idea of social contract in the 21st century in social-sciences and humanities. Key challenges of today’s societies, which are becoming transnational, multicultural and increasingly conditioned by processes of individualization, atomization and transformation of the role of the nation-state and welfare, demand a fresh perspective and re-theoretization of the Enlightenment legacy of the social contract. The reconsideration includes social bonds of solidarity, ethics and citizenship education. The program group approaches these questions from comparative historical, philosophical and educational perspective, and, in this endeavour, brings together researchers in the interdisciplinary field of historical sociology, philosophy and educational studies. In addition, this research task is carried out in dialogue with international scholars who engage in debate in cross-generational, cross-regional and transnational contexts.


ARRS Code: P6-0400

Period: 1. 1. 2015 – 31. 12. 2019

Programme leader: Prof. Ksenija Vidmar Horvat, PhD