The spatial cognition of Mediterranean in Slovenia: (In)consistency between perception and physical definitions

Miha Staut, Gregor Kovačič, Darko Ogrin
2007 Acta Geographica Slovenica  
On the basis of a previously tested method, the cognition of the spatial extent of the Mediterranean in Slovenia is presented. The Mediterranean may be determined on the basis of numerous and very diverse criteria. It is therefore a very subjectively determined notion, where geographical and non-geographical definitions can be treated as equivalent. The research made use of a questionnaire method, which revealed the opinions of the inhabitants living in the area, generally regarded as being
more » ... terranean. The determination of the Mediterranean was achieved with the aid of a special question. Respondents were asked to graphically delineate its border in Slovenia on a specially prepared general map included in the questionnaire on the basis of their subjective complex perception of the characteristics by them understood as Mediterranean. The questionnaire was spatially structured by the following regions: Slovene Istria, the Vipava Valley, the Vipava Hills, the Gori{ka ravan, the Brda Hills, the Kras, the Pivka Basin, the Reka Valley, the Brkini Hills and the Matarsko podolje and Ljubljana with its surroundings. By drawing on the fuzzy logic theory and helped by computer techniques all the answers were merged on a special map showing the extent and membership of the fuzzy set »Mediterranean« within the crisp set »Slovenia«. The border between the Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean part of Slovenia is in this way established as a continuous transition. The mean value of this transition goes from [empeter, passes the eastern flank of Karst, beside Diva~a and ends on the eastern side of Slavnik. A more restrictive criterion of the membership function value of 0.95, includes in the Slovenian Mediterranean only the sea and its most immediate hinterland. Particularly interesting proved differences in the spatial cognition of the Mediterranean's borders in Slovenia between different survey regions. Contents Defining the Mediterranean is not an easy task. It is a complex spatial formation, of which the idea and meaning are continuously evolving since from the pre-antiquity. It can not be determined only by the physical-geographical factors. Its definition is however probably best found in the specific evolution of physical factors to which its inhabitants knew how to adapt through centuries in order to form an ideographically unique macroregion, which has no match in the world. The physical factors are those, which are first experienced by the visitors to this region, when they feel the warmth of the sun rays and the scent of the ethereal aromatic plants. Thus, there is no uniform and simple criterion by which one could trace the line between the Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean. The majority of researchers, who in one way or another tried to determine the Mediterranean, laid their definitions upon some aspect, which reflected their cognition and understanding of the landscape reality, placed between three continents and their coasts and the areas washed by the Mediterranean Sea. However, very few of them asked themselves how do the inhabitants, as one of the most dynamic element of the transformation of the landscape, understand the environment they are living in. Which are those characteristics that make their places so special and different from the others and how far into land these characteristics are still recognized? The Mediterranean is the sea, the climate, the landscape, the people and their way of life, all together combined and more. The aim of the article is to compare the selected physical determinations of the Mediterranean with the cognition of its contents and extent upon the way local people see their home region.
doi:10.3986/ags47105 fatcat:6g4z5t6febgp5bjq34kon72vge