The research project titled “Life Strategies and Survival Strategies of Households and Individuals in South-East European Societies in the Period of Economic Crisis” was carried out from 2014 to 2016 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) as part of the SCOPES program. The project realization included the Sociology Department of the University of Zurich (Switzerland), the Center for the Empirical Cultural Studies of South-East Europe (Serbia), the Institute for Social Sciences “Ivo Pilar” (regional center in Split – Croatia), the Sociology Department of the University of Maribor (Slovenia) and the Economic Institute from Sarajevo (BiH). The project coordinator was prof. Jörg Rössel, PhD, from the Sociology Department of the University of Zurich.

The main aim of this research project was to identify, describe and classify the changes in the social practices of individuals and households in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, caused by this last world economic crisis.

The research had several main tasks. The first one was to identify, describe and create the typology of the survival/overcoming strategies which the household members in the countries of South-East Europe resort to in order to preserve or improve their economic or social position in a time of crisis. The second task was the research into the permanent patterns of social practices in the fields outside of the economic one, for example in the field of education, which would enable the construction of a typology of broader life strategies. The third goal was the identification and description of the changes in the consumer practices of these societies in conditions of economic deprivation, meaning changes in their life styles. The fourth task was to identify the differences between the strategies themselves and the life styles of various social groups in the studied societies. The last set of tasks referred to a comparison of the “responses to the crises” in general terms between the societies but also between the members of these societies who belong to the same social groups.

The results of the research part of the project were obtained from surveys including total of 3 906 randomly selected respondents, where Serbia and Croatia were represented with 1000 respondents each, Bosnia and Herzegovina with 1002 respondents, and Slovenia with 904 respondents. In addition to the survey, during the research, 120 semi-structured individual interviews were also carried out with household members who were, based on the results of the survey analysis, determined to be typical bearers of the identified life strategies (on average approximately 50 interviews in each country). On the other hand, more than 100 group semi-structural interviews were carried out with representatives of vulnerable groups (the Romani, social welfare recipients, small agricultural families, pensioners and single-parent families).

Within the project, three international conferences have been organized:

  • Freedom & Necessity: Class Differences, Lifestyles and Coping Strategies in the Times of Economic Crisis, the Institute for Social Sciences “Ivo Pilar” (regional center in Split – Croatia) and the University of Zuric, October 3-4, 2015 in Split, Croatia
  • Post-Socialism: Hybridity, Continuity and Change, CESK and the University of Zurich, June 25-26, 2016, Novi Sad
  • Surviving in Post-Socialism: Implications for Policy Makers, FES Zagreb and the Center for the Study of Post-Socialist Societies, November 26-27, 2016, Ljubljana

Many papers were published in international and local journals, among which the special issue of Südosteuropa Volume 65, no. 3 stands out, which came out in 2017. In this issue of the journal, titled Household Strategies in the Period of Economic Crisis 4 papers of the team members were published:

  • Predrag Cvetičanin and Miran Lavrič: Household Strategies in Southeast European Societies in the Period of Economic Crisis (449-458)
  • Predrag Cvetičanin and Miran Lavrič: Typology of Household Strategies of Action in Four Countries of Southeastern Europe in a Period of Economic Crisis (459-494)
  • Adnan Efendić, Predrag Cvetičanin, and Ismet Kumalić: Thriving and Surviving Activities of Households During the Crisis Period. Empirical Evidence from Southeastern Europe (495-519)
  • Nemanja Krstić, Augustin Derado, Andrej Naterer, Ismet Kumalić: Small Farmers in Four Southeast European Countries. A Qualitative Analysis of Life Strategies in Twenty-Five Agricultural Households (565-588)

A final publication is currently being prepared.