Slovenia is among those Central East European countries that have been undergoing rather turbulent processes, the so called ‘transition’, causing many profound changes in all societal domains. The ‘transition’ was basically about ‘leaving’ the socialist economic and political systems and ‘taking over’ the market economy plus parliamentary democracy. Backed by the expertise of the World Bank, as pointed by Ferge (2001), an optimistic ‘reform and privatisation’ rhetoric prevailed, promising improvements in terms of economic efficiency, political democracy, and personal freedoms. On the other hand, the institutional and cultural societal heritage – ‘the social factor’ in brief – was not recognised as having much value in comparison to the economic and political factors. Therefore, it is a great challenge to examine thus emerging social features in one of the ‘transitional countries’ and try to compare them to others. While comparisons between West and East European societies are frequent in their economic and political characteristics, their societal features have been much less discussed and compared. The social quality approach, used in this analysis, is opening up a great number of questions about various properties of societies. The major test for the approach lies in its ability to integrate the answers.
Emergent Individual Risks and Disappearing Fora to Discuss Them
Maša Filipović, Srna Mandič and Ružica Boškić
Place, Identities, Geographies and Histories in a Small Slovenian Town
The article addresses the question of local identification, proposing that local identification in the contemporary world can be linked to locals' imagining 'their place' as inscribed within wider contexts outlined by symbols with supra-local references, whereby place-centric imaginary geographies emerge. Locals are active producers of symbols linking a place to such geographies. The author discusses the case of Dante Alighieri's alleged stay in the town of Tolmin in 1319, which failed as a possible symbol for inscribing the town into the imaginary geography of Western literature because in this part of Slovenia Dante was also associated with Italian fascism.
Katja Mihurko Poniž
The article explores to what extent, as well as how and when nationalism, feminism and their intersections facilitated women's entry into the literary field in Slovenia. In particular, this article presents the work of Slovene women writers from about 1850 to 1918 and demonstrates the importance of the journal Slovenka (The Slovene woman, 1897-1902), in which many women writers found their voices and that allowed a relatively brief but fruitful encounter between nationalism and feminism. The main change in the development of Slovene women's literature in the period discussed is the shift from topics connected with the strengthening of national consciousness, which emerged after 1848, to a portrayal of women's subordination and emancipation, which took place at the fin de siècle and the beginning of the twentieth century. The work of women writers introduced independent female characters to Slovene literature. These characters no longer saw their mission solely as sacrificing themselves for the nation.
This article discusses the timing and character of women's philanthropy in Carniola, now part of Slovenia, in the period from 1848 to 1914. Based on primary research, it explores the beginnings of women's work for the poor; the impact of religion, especially Catholicism, on women's involvement in charity; and finally the rise of women's secular social care. I argue that in Carniola, Catholic women's organizations largely filled the space that opened up for women's philanthropic initiatives. By the late nineteenth century, a re-Catholicization of modern industrial society took place, which particularly focused on women, as seen in the phenomenon of the feminization of the Catholic religion. Catholic women's associations started to proliferate; some of these associations were charity associations that introduced new principles to charity work.
Jeremy F. Walton and Piro Rexhepi
Over recent decades, Islamic institutions and Muslim communities in the successor nation-states of former Yugoslavia have taken shape against a variegated political and historical topography. In this article, we examine the discourses and politics surrounding Islamic institutions in four post-Yugoslav nation-states: Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia. Our analysis moves in two directions. On the one hand, we illuminate the historical legacies and institutional ties that unite Muslims across these four contexts. As we argue, this institutional history continues to mandate a singular, hegemonic model of Sunni-Hanafi Islam that pre-emptively delegitimizes Muslim communities outside of its orbit. On the other hand, we also attend to the contrasting national politics of Islam in each of our four contexts, ranging from Islamophobic anxiety and suspicion to multiculturalism, from a minority politics of differentiation to hegemonic images of ethno-national religiosity.
Between Ethnography and the Construction of Heritage
The article discusses the process of setting up an exhibition presenting the fragments of alternative creative practices in 1980s Maribor (Slovenia) in an art museum. Within an interdisciplinary approach – art historical, museological and anthropological, which is in focus here – I try to understand how such a heritage of alternative creative practices is constructed and produced. Furthermore, the question of the anthropological potentiality of exhibition-making as a method for researching certain aspects of urban practices and development is considered. During the exhibition the art museum became a collaborative place for negotiating, mediating and constructing a heritage between an imagined community of (once) alternative individuals and collectives who participated in the exhibition, the museum staff, visitors and the media. The exhibition was echoed in some other events in the city as it also addressed contemporary artistic, cultural and social issues in Maribor.
Study of Slovenian Transition
Contemporary political rituals have been a neglected topic in Slovenian ethnology and anthropology. This article presents celebrations of Slovenian statehood in the period of transition - from 1991 to the present - which were being organised in the Republic Square (Trg Republike) and cultural centre Cankarjev dom in Ljubljana, and have been outlining the components of Slovenian political mythology and offering solutions for the new national future. The analysis is focused on the holders of political, cultural and media systems. It attempts to disclose the significance and use of the concept of intercultural dialogue in contemporary Slovenian society by exploring the relationship between ritual and its social background.
A New Concern in Hungary
Following the systemic change which affected Eastern and Central Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Western experts considered that individual countries had different chances of catching up to the West. According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former US National Security Adviser, the Central European countries would take at least ten years to become pluralistic, free-market democracies. Five countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Estonia) were thought to have better chances of transforming themselves into successful liberal democracies, and so to come near to Western standards in the foreseeable future.
On the Phenomenon of Communist Nostalgia in Slovenia and Poland
The article examines the phenomenon of communist/post-socialist nostalgia, with a focus on Slovenia and Poland, through the central issue of identity, memory and the concrete manifestations of nostalgia. The emergence of a somewhat distinct 'Eastern European' identity and the East--West divide in historical and cultural terms is explored through several historical events of the European project between the World Wars. The revival of the communist brands, commercial products, symbols, music and film is the core of the communist 'renaissance', witnessing mainly the need for encountering the past, the selectiveness of memory and the right and emotional need to value one's own personal history and past.
The politics and ethics of collaboration among World Anthropologies
The articles in this theme section are based on papers presented at a three-session workshop on World Anthropologies at the 2008 Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Drawing on analyses of the position of anthropological disciplinary practices in Poland, Spain, Hungary, and the US, as well as their global reception, these articles ask important and timely questions about where anthropologists conduct their research, what professional and academic societies they join, what types of relationships they should forge with scholars who live in the country or nation in which they conduct fieldwork, and how they should engage with other disciplines beyond anthropology. As these articles demonstrate, practices of collaboration are enmeshed in politically, socially, and geographically grounded histories. Although at some level this may not be a surprise to readers, specific issues remain well worth examining further and discussing within the profession.