In the Name of the Nation or/and Europe? Determinants of the Slovenian Citizenship Regime

Tomaž Deželan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Slovenia has been widely portrayed as a ‘success story’ of the transition to modern liberal democracy. This paper attempts to revise that somewhat distorted image by explaining how different political visions, and their clashes and coalitions over two decades of independent statehood, influenced the Slovenian citizenship regime, which is rife with undemocratic practices. Drawing on the ‘nationalizing state’ approach, the paper illuminates two dominant political agendas: the nationalizing state agenda and the Europeanizing state agenda. However, both agendas are frequently intertwined and provide legitimacy to political actors across the ideological spectrum depending on the circumstances. These circumstances are external or internal to the political system and determine the relevance of either of the two agendas. As such, they also play an important role in shaping the outcome of the political bargaining that has left its mark on the Slovenian citizenship regime. The periods of consensus between political elites regarding the overarching goals of national independence and accession to the European Union were accompanied by external pressures to introduce liberal democratic principles. Consequently, these facilitated the civic agenda. On the other hand, the absence of international pressures, in combination with internal factors, allowed serious malpractice in the field. Nevertheless, citizenship has proved to be an extremely important aspect of both agendas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-29
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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