‘WE WERE AS ONE’: LOCAL AND NATIONAL NARRATIVES OF A BORDER REGIME BETWEEN SLOVENIA AND CROATIA

in Culture and Cooperation in Europe’s Borderland
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Abstract

This article discusses the differing notions of border identities and cross-border relations along the Slovenian-Croat international border after the declaration of Slovenian independence in 1991. Its principal focus is on the understandings of national (self)identifications of the people in the the Upper Kolpa valley, a southern section of the Slovenian-Croat state border, in contrast to the official discourse promulgated by the two nation-states. It is argued that the view of borderlanders is markedly distinct from the one that state nationalism and its promulgators imagine to be proper for the ideal borderlander; in part because their complex national identifications usually do not fit rigid formal state categorisations. However, it is also clear that various hegemonic images and identities, with origins in the state and other centres distant from border regions, are regularly built into border peoples’ understandings of their identities and social and political situation. Such understandings of belonging and differing identifications are influential in local and state explanations of the substantial withering away of cross-border contacts over the last decade.