Chapter 4 Between Ethnicity, Regionalism, and Familial Memory: Identity Dilemmas among the Eastern Romance Communities of the Balkan Peninsula

In: The Romance-Speaking Balkans
Ewa Nowicka
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This chapter is rooted in a conviction that the responsibility of a social scientist is to perceive vanishing, endangered cultures, and to warn of their disappearance by shining light on the significance, as well as the consequences of a shrinking cultural pluralism in the world. Ethnic minorities exist everywhere. Their minority status is officially recognized or not, but the latter situation means a lack of institutional guarantees of their cultural, linguistic, and structural distinctions. Sometimes minorities fade to barely a relic, no longer attempting to gain minority status; the members no longer view their identity in ethnic, but rather in merely local categories. A problem faced today by the members of one such group—the Romance-language inhabitants of the Balkan Peninsula—is the preservation of some form of their identity. For the purposes of this work, the geography will be limited to today’s Greece, Serbia, and the Istrian Peninsula—areas in which various situations and types of identity strategies are most clearly manifested by this minority.

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