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Towards a symmetrical minority citizenship: group equality in Croatia 1990-­‐2007

Burrai, V.; (2012) Towards a symmetrical minority citizenship: group equality in Croatia 1990-­‐2007. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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This thesis explains the process of institutional equalisation of national groups which took place in Croatia between 1990 and 2007. Two readings are prevalent in the study of minority regimes. The first, more prevalent among scholars of ethnic conflict, sees the adoption of minority rights regimes as the result of political struggles, expressed in ad hoc improvement of the status of specific national groups. This approach focuses on the agency of rebellious national groups and sometimes kin-states. The second, preferred by international organisations scholarship, sees the establishment of minority regimes after 1990 as the product of the conditionality imposed by international organisations accompanied by the diffusion of international norms of fair treatment, which results in a general systems rights for the national minorities. The thesis’ institutionalist approach reconciles both readings because it recognises that the historical context conferred agency to a number of international and domestic actors interacting with the Croatian governments. Additionally it creates space for unintended consequences of institutional reforms, placing the institutional equalisation of Croatia’s national groups among them. The evolution of the Croatian rules of inclusion of national groups is explained by three arguments. Firstly, I argue that the manipulation of the list of national minorities responded to international incentives, more than to the power or characteristics of specific national groups. Secondly, I show that incremental and unintentional changes, more than the diffusion of a norm regarding group equality, were responsible for the creation of an equal system of minority rights. Thirdly, the equalisation of national groups provided previously unrecognised national groups with unprecedented access to resources and institutions, shaping their means of participation in public life and increasing their salience at state-­level and local-­level politics. Finally, the empirical findings show that national groups’ recognition triggered adaptive strategies among national groups at the local level. In the case of long established national groups, these were aimed to preserve the group’s standing relative to the newcomers, while, in the case of the newly recognised groups adaptive strategies sought to establish a political identity.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Towards a symmetrical minority citizenship: group equality in Croatia 1990-­‐2007
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1355101
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