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Past in present: the trauma of fascism and national socialism in the memories of post-war generations. Comparative qualitative empirical research study on the case of Slovenes in Carinthia and Slovenes in Friuli Venezia-Giulia

Head of the research project: Marija Jurić Pahor, Ph. D. (IES)
Cooperators: Pavel Fonda, Ph. D. (supervision), Marjeta Gostinčar Cerar (IES), Sonja Kurinčič Mikuž (IES), Sandi Volk, Ph. D. (Slovene National Library of the Studies)
Duration of the project:  July 2004 – June 2007


The research project – arising from the fundamental research project (MZT, J5-1010), which mainly focuses on the »first generation« -, will deal comparatively with the phenomenon of transgenerational transmission of traumas, and will be based on narrative, biographically coloured interviews, group discussions and materials like memoirs, diary notes and autobiographically conceived literary texts. The focus will be on the perspective of descendants of those Carinthian and Friuli-Venezia Slovenes who were prisoners in different concentration camps in the time of fascism and national socialism. The project will proceed from the assumption that extreme traumatization has longterm effects which – through fears, wishes, and above all »silence«, i.e. the unspoken and the unspeakable – are further transmitted on children and grandchildren. Special attention will be dedicated to the following issues: How is this transmission going on? What is the influence of the traumatic past of survivors on the life of their offspring? What generation conflicts and identification forms does it generate in the sequence of generations? How is it reflected in the social and historical consciousness, and in different collective memories and practices of remembering? How does it affect categories like ethnic/national adherence or non-adherence, generation, sex? The interviews and autobiographic materials will be structured according to the procedure of »qualitative contents analysis« (Ph. Mayring), which offers the possibility of compressing large quantities of textual materials in such a way that its essential components are preserved, while it also facilitates the interpretation and comparison of these contents according to certain pre-set criteria. Texts will be studied with the help of »in-depth hermeneutics« (A. Lorenzer), the method used for the analysis of conscious and unconscious mental processes. Engaged as counsellor and supervisor of the research project will be the Slovene psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Pavel Fonda from Trieste, who has since 1990 been active in the field of psychoanalysis development in Slovenia, Croatia and the European East. He is director of the Han Groen-Prakken Psychoanalytic Institute for Eastern Europe (PIEE), which trains psychoanalysts from Eastern Europe within the International Psychoanalysis Association and European Psychoanalysis Federation. 


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