Instrumentalization of Ethnicity within Multi-National Countries: The Colonization of Slovenes in the Austro-Hungarian Part of the Former Yugoslavia
Through exploring politically motivated settlement into the strategically important areas of multi-eth- nic countries, this article deals with the presence of Slovenes in the former Austro-Hungarian territory of ex-Yugoslavia. Apart from a comparative analysis of census methodologies, which had recorded data on linguistic or ethnic affiliation in the period after the invention of modern population censuses in the mid-19th century, the author systematically examines the question of the quantitative and statistical presence of Slovenes in the successor states and territories of former Yugoslavia. The main group of arguments is concentrated around the idea of the so-called instrumentalization of ethnicity as a primary factor of planned migration by the state-centres of multi-ethnic countries (e.g. Austria-Hungary, former Yugoslavia). At the same time the paper argues that the motivation of either linguistic or ethnic affiliation to Slovene ethnicity evolved and developed independently of the actual migration flows.
KEY-WORDS: Slovenes, Yugoslavia, demographic analysis, migration, ethnicity, ethnic structure, population census
INSTRUMENTALIZATION OF ETHNICITY WITHIN MULTI-NATIONAL COUNTRIES: THE COLONIZATION OF SLOVENES IN THE AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN PART
OF THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
The present analysis shows that when talking about Sloveneness in the ex-Yugoslav former Hapsburg areas outside Slovenia there were continuous discourses concentrating on less or more distant histories of immigration into the new geographically separated areas, which operated externally as distinguishing the newcomers from the natives. This type of discourse lies at the very core of the problem, but at the same time it is the pathway to an alternative understanding of ‘ethnic Sloveneness’ in the area of former Yugoslavia.
The omnipotence of economic migration factors is, moreover, strengthened by explicitly biased ‘reporting’ on the ‘nature’ of both migration and ethnicity. The purported ‘economics’ of a given settlement which disregard the educational attainments or socio-economic profile of the settler, immigrant, colonist etc. is a guarantee of systematic differentiation and institutionalized discrimination. Since in the circumstances of the globally unified principle of the accumulation of capital there is no possibility of expressing indiscriminate individuality except that of capital’s primary concern, which is thus liable to the logic of consumerism, so are the processes of ethnicity in a given societal setting in service of the capitalist mode of production. In spite of capital-conditioned overall societal dynamism, the former, paradoxically, means that the relations of protection and preservation of premodern ‘ethnic taxonomies’ are subordinated by the rigid and uncritical protection of the supposed or completely intangible achievements of such premodern perceptions of ethno-national relations.
The main point of the argument is what is important is not the individual’s inner potential of be- longing to various social portfolios, which could be consequently ascribed to his or her alleged multiple identity, but the multiplicity and complexity of group’s inner relations, which are manifested in a vast array of social organizational forms that evolve into numerous, diverse and extremely heterogeneous social-ethnic communities. Only by applying such apparatus it is possible to de-divinize the ethnicity, which is manifested in the seeking of a ‘divine particle’ – the ultimate origin of a specific ethnicity – in order to redirect to the core of ethnicity which lies in a process of simultaneous internal and external intellectual, social, and economic stratification and differentiation.