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

Constructive Theology in the Age of Digital Culture and Anthropocene (P6-0434)

This research programme will discuss, from an interdisciplinary view, some of the most important issues for our present society. The main aim of this research is to understand and place in dialog the role of Christianity in the ethics of environmental protection, ecological awareness, and ecological empowerment, on the one hand, and the theological and philosophical interpretations of technology, particularly digital technologies, on the other.

The starting point of this research programme is the increasing intertwinement of natural and digital environments for contemporary and future life on our planet. The development and increasing use of advanced digital technologies and artificial intelligence raise a number of challenging ethical questions. Understanding these challenges and formulating theologically reflective responses to them are important aspects of digital theology. Digital culture is the context within which we increasingly do theology, thus, digital theology impacts both theology as a discipline and digital culture within which we live.

Our focus on this reflective contextual interaction between digitality and theology, will examine the impact of digital culture on questions regarding the nature of God, God’s interaction with the world, the mystery of faith, on our relationships with one another and the Other (including God, gender, nature, and non-human beings). We will also explore the impact of theology on digitality and digital culture. Digital technology is different from previous technologies and brings with it both new dangers and new possibilities. It can be either a poison or a remedy, or a range of possibilities related to both – in other words, digital technology has the capacity to be either a positive or a negative influence upon how we live, think, and relate, and the challenge is to identify which is which and under what conditions. Digital technology operates somewhat differently from previous technologies by virtue of the ways in which it takes our thoughts, memories and, indeed, our habits and speeds up the normal processes through which they operate. Such technologies, employed by consumer culture and commercial interests, risk short-circuiting our processes of reflection and critical thought. The times, spaces, and reflective methodologies provided by religion could provide an antidote to this, functioning similarly to the dreams and intermittences which escape external control and enable the opportunity for alternative thoughts and experiences.

New modes of ethical cohabitation are needed in the Digital-Anthropocene age, therefore new models of theological responses will be sought and proposed by our programme.

This research programme draws upon, contributes to, and brings together the fields of theology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, religiology, computer sciences and digital humanities.


ARRS Code: P6-0434

Period: 1. 1. 2022 – 31. 12. 2028

Programme leader: Nadja Furlan Štante, PhD, Principal Research Associate

Liminal Spaces: Areas of cultural and societal cohabitation in the age of risk and vulnerability (P6-0279)

This research programme will try to study the complexity of the problems proposed by using a combined and coordinated crossdisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach of internationally recognized groups of researchers from the fields of humanities (philosophy) and social sciences (sociology), thus deepening and expanding the work that has been successfully started and conducted by now. The studies in this programme will be focussed in particular on the liminal spaces, emerging within various cultural and societal areas, with their inherent risks and vulnerabilities analysed from the philosophical and sociological, but also broadly humanistic (feminist and gender studies, religious studies and cultural studies) points of view. Within recent developments – such as migration and humanitarian crisis in Europe and especially in the Mediterranean, political processes that threaten or even block further European integration and with the demise of the multi- or intercultural values and values of interreligious dialogue in favor or a more populist scenarios, we are in a need of a response and an indepth study of contemporary phenomena, related to the risks (tat are social and political) and vulnerabilities (as related to the human body and her/his identity) as present and detected in our societies and as found within communities that we are a part of. The main topics and objectives of this project will be: investigations into liminal spaces and borders shaping our lives in the age of uncertainty; studies of the elements of risk society with migration, especially as related to vulnerable bodies and identities of children/minors, women, migrants, dispossessed persons, religious minorities etc.; studies of cultural and societal liminal and contact areas in light of intercultural and interreligous dialogue; finally, peace building and studies in ethics and politics of hospitality and social and political cohabitation, also as related to the future role of Islam in Europe. Within the programme, we will innovatively apply the concept of caring democracy to the field of vulnerability and risk and propose a new view on social and political cohabitation in Europe and in the Mediterranean.


ARRS Code: P6-0279

Period: 1. 1. 2020 – 31. 12. 2025

Programme leader: Lenart Škof, PhD, Principal Research Associate

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Slovenia and the Mediterranean (P6-0272)

The research programme The Mediterranean and Slovenia draws its scientific potential from a specifically structured milieu that emerged at the intersection between the Adriatic and Central Europe, and which from a historiographic viewpoint highlights the contiguity, and the borderland and interactive character of the Slovenian Mediterranean region. To encompass the complexity, heterogeneity and specificity of the policies, structures, practices and relations in this area, the research will focus on four analytical tasks which, through transnational and comparative histories, open a perspective on this area as a research lab for studying political and social phenomena in the global context of the 19th and 20th centuries. The gender-mixed group of senior, experienced and young researchers will address: 1) political, economic and cultural exchanges; 2) religious policies and practices in the multi-ethnic area of contact; 3)the agency of the individual in processes of social modernisation; and 4) the ideological language of the cultural landscape.

The ambitious, yet carefully scheduled studies will draw from a wide range of sources, largely unavailable until recently, from state, regional and private archives in Slovenia, Italy, the Vatican, Serbia, Croatia, and Austria, including updated databases of vital records and collections of oral testimonies. The transitional nature of the area and the various “regimes of historicity” (régimes d’historicité) suggest the choice of a basic methodological toolkit comprising transnational, comparative and various relational approaches, in particular entangled, shared and connected histories. The transfer of established concepts, such as the spatial and cultural turns, sites of memory or microhistory, from the static national framework onto the multinational border area of the northern Adriatic will enable a qualified level of analysis with interpretational value for other similarly structured regions, granting our research significant international relevance.

The research programme envisages a detailed dissemination strategy with innovative results that will continue the practice of publishing with renowned international journals and editors, while serving as an evidence base available to a wide circle of stakeholders in planning policies for (cross)border area development; for example, through pilot projects making use of cultural heritage in designing innovative products.

The basic aim of the programme is to provide original historical insight into cases of cross-border regional integration from the area between the Alps and the Adriatic as paradigms for bridging ideological, political, economic and cultural divides. Employing this historical viewpoint, we present the possibilities for integration in the area of the northern Adriatic as a meeting point of dominant and alternative globalisations.


ARRS Code: P6-0272

Period: 1. 1. 2015 – 31. 12. 2025

Programme leader: Egon Pelikan, PhD, Principal Research Associate

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. 2022 – 31. 12. 2027

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. 2025

Programme leader: Prof. Ksenija Vidmar Horvat, PhD