Slovenes - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. The family is tied to other families by relations among kin and relations to godparents and Neighbors. Traditionally, villagewide activities were organized by the church, by singing societies, by firemens' organizations, which included other activities such as dramatic productions, and by veselicas at many occasions such as weddings, threshing, and the kolina festivities when a pig was slaughtered. Additionally, regional markets were centers for social interaction of all kinds. All these activities have declined in the modern period. Traditionally there were clear differences in social Status in the peasant village. The highest status was occupied by the largest landowners and in some areas by the millers who owned larger forest reserves. Middle peasants were next, and the landless or semilandless craftsmen had the lowest status. In the postwar period peasants who became political functionaries occupied an ambiguous status, having a measure of power but often coming from the landless class. Status also became far more fluid as factory work and educational activities expanded.

Political Organization. The post-1848 village was ruled by an elected village council under the village head ( podžupan ), who was subordinate to the občina, a council representing a number of villages, which in turn was subordinated to the District. This structure was successively altered under the Communist regime and the communal system. Local village government lost much of its autonomy, being replaced by people's committees (narodni odbor) at the občina and District level. After 1955 the communal system was instituted. The commune replaced the občina as the basic political unit and local units were further consolidated. Full-time peasants had less rights and were less fully represented than others.

Social Control. In the traditional village social control was informally exercised through face-to-face relations, gossip, social ostracism, the power of the local Catholic church and the village council, and only secondarily by the legal mechanisms of the state. In the postwar period local methods largely have been replaced by official ones.

Conflict. Traditionally conflicts between villages over such issues as boundary disputes, inheritance, rights to forest land, and road construction were settled by the village council or local courts. Postwar conflicts such as those between the Village and the cooperative farms no longer are settled locally. Ethnic antagonisms between Slovenes and the representatives of the southern nationalities have been sources of tensions.


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