The research activities of the Institute IRRIS are focussed on studying social and historical relationships on both micro and macro level of the social life, that aims at sustainable development, social fairness, social sustainability, intergenerational and social solidarity as well as intercultural symbiosis.
The institute’s mission is implemented at the levels of interdisciplinary comparative studies and (re)interpretations of social processes and universal laws in the interaction between culture and nature on a global and on a local level, or, as according to the distinction between culture and nature by Claude Lévi-Strauss, in “the universality of natural facts in contrast to diversity of cultural facts”.
- Becoming a distinguished top quality humanities and social sciences research institution in Slovenia and abroad.
- Establishing efficient forms of cooperation and association with related international institutions.
- Becoming a reference institution for transferring the knowledge and values of humanities and social sciences to the economy, society and higher education processes.
- Encouraging and ensuring interdisciplinary and comparative studies of social, cultural and environmental phenomena and issues.
- Obtaining suitable and comparable financial and material conditions for research, educational and professional work.
IRRIS will become an internationally established research institution that will creatively contribute to the quality of life and humanity of our society.
With research, educational and professional activities, IRRIS strives to achieve renown in Slovenia and abroad. By working together with economy and service industry organisations from public and private sectors, with state authorities, local communities and the civil society, IRRIS will enhance the usage of its research and educational achievements and thus contribute to social development. Its activities are based on the following values:
- quality and academic excellence based on internationally comparable standards in all fields of activity,
- autonomy and independence in relations with the state, political parties, corporations and religious communities,
- academic freedom of its researchers, especially creative freedom and development of civilisation achievements of humanism and uman rights, including equality of opportunity and solidarity,
- affiliation and openness to the international academic and wider space by co-shaping awareness of joint goals,
- ethical and responsible attitude towards the world and a quality sustainable development.
The contemporary world calls for new and genuine broad theoretical bases and specifically targeted strategies for resolutions of conflicts emerging at the level of human attitude towards the society (culture, ethics, and politics) on the one hand and towards environment on the other. Considering the situation, the IRRIS institute will be dedicated to studying historical, anthropological, philosophical, sociological, politological, linguistical, legal, geographical and other broader social aspects that will enable us to detect crucial or pragmatic points or developmental shifts that have throughout history endowed the resolutions of frictions and conflicts between social actors that enabled the growth of all kinds of civilisation environments. In order to reach this goal in contemporary society, such interdisciplinary comparative research of social dynamics includes studies of the complexity of the cultural heritage as the key component in the attitude of human towards the environment.
The focal point of the IRRIS institute’s research will be the Mediterranean, understood as the area historically (especially during colonialism) conceived as the centre of the known world. Despite of that, it held the role of the principal place of interaction of different cultures since the Antiquity and became a prospect of the future world based on a dialogue between world cultures in the time of globalisation. With Enrique Dussel’s idea of a new Afro-Asian-Mediterranean world (the adjective Mediterranean in this context includes the Latin America i.e. the Caribbean through the Hispanic history and culture) and Denys Lombard’s concept of “Another Mediterranean” (the South China sea) as the main contact zone of the Asian world, we can perceive the Mediterranean as the constellation of the modern world where intercultural dialogue is possible and where new ideas of the global dynamics that will define our future can be born. Therefore, we will develop international regional studies with an emphasis on the Mediterranean (Europe, Africa) and Asia (Russia, Iran, India, China).
Our research interest will be focused on the area of conflict resolution and these complex dynamics will be looked into from several perspectives. We will be interested in historical and religious contacts and socio-political and religious violence throughout history to modern cases. Furthermore, we will analyse philosophical (political) texts and the events crucial for the formation of new platforms for the evaluation of social life and awareness of the importance of peaceful conflict resolutions. Within historical, linguistical, philosophical, legal and sociological aspects of intercultural mindset, we will discuss events and concepts that lead the human kind to crucial breakthroughs and pragmatic changes in human rights as well as in philosophical and political theories of fairness and solidarity. Special attention will be devoted to the historical research of the concept of democracy focused on finding the path to future cultural democracy as the space of respect and consideration of gender, cultural, religious and national differences and sustainable nature-friendly development.
Sustainable development – or sustainability – is one of the conceptual approaches to the understanding of the complex circumstances in the environment, economy and society. In this form, the expression first appeared in 1981, it became a neologism in 1987 Brundtland Report and gained today’s approximate meaning in Agenda 21 (1992). The conceptual process mainly takes place at the social level. It does not only presume to contain the idea of stronger autonomy in the interaction between structural elements of the society, but also cultural shift. Until now, the culture as a factor of sustainability has been mentioned only sporadically (e.g. as cultural heritage or as cultural needs at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, 2012) while the patriarchal aspects of the (Western) European culture have been expressed also in the common conception of sustainable development and have as such marked the idea on the conceptual level. Authoritative patterns, such as reign, fight, competitiveness, hierarchy, power, asset increase, growth, ownership transformation, natural wealth exploitation and rational justification of interventions, are prevailing in language, conversation and action coordination. This is one of the reasons for the lack of a steady influence between individual segments of sustainable development in current circumstances, as well as an occasional reason for the presentation of the whole concept as a controversial idea with no future. In order to understand the meaning of social and cultural changes, we should be capable of denoting the conversation culture as the community-forming human activity on the one hand, and recognising the dynamics of emotional factors, crucial for action coordination, that enable cultural changes. The dominance of the (Western) European patriarchal culture is manifested in the manner of manipulation and action coordination that does not lead to cooperation but to competition. The more individuals pertaining to this culture are integrated into its way of thinking, conversing and acting, the more the conceptualisation of a different culture (language, conversation, action coordination) becomes an essential task of the development of social sustainability.
Until recently, all hopes, energy and funds of resolving this situation have been laid into technology, but such approaches ought to be reconsidered with respect to cultural, religious and philosophical viewpoints that can offer both the causes of the ecological crisis and its solutions. Natural scientist have come across significant problems (e.g. environmental denial, i.e. denial of the seriousness of environmental issues) in informing the general public with their disturbing research results, and are thus forced to reach for methods of deliberation, connected with solving the environmental problems, up till now specific for humanities and social studies.
With regards to what has been stated, we can conclude that the perception of environmental problems, much alike the perception of several other problems, is socially, culturally and environmentally transmitted, rendering these problems’ solutions impossible without humanistic and social science approaches. In this situation, education (e.g. empirical education) and philosophic deliberation on the human attitude towards environment are the most important actors.
Suitable mind frames can enable us to look for the possible causes for such attitudes and see them in the way that a clear path to their resolution reveals in our minds