28 / 2008
Irena Šumi, Damir Josipovič

Autochthonism and Romany: Towards Rethinking the Principles of Minority Policies in Slovenia

The authors analyse the constitutional concept of autochthony in Slovenia and its rather uncritical and poorly informed introduction into Slovenian law and social science from the (post)colonial era. This was demonstrated also in the 1998 Opinion of the Constitutional Court which designated the constitutional concept of autochthony as pertains to the Italian and Hungarian minority in Slovenia, and to Slovenians in the neighbouring countries, as unclear in meaning and legal consequences. The authors proceed to describe the circumstances in which the 2007 bill on Romany minority protection was prepared and passed. In conclusion, they offer an alternative model of minority protection that renounces the racist model of ‘blood quantum’, but instead builds on protection of cultural landscapes which have hosted, and may host presently, specific cultural, linguistic, class and ethnic processes of difference and coexistence. Insisting on primordialist usage of the concepts of autochthony as a designation of living people they see as a threat to all minorities in Slovenia, and as the danger of permanent, radical ethnicisation of the national space.
KEYWORDS: Romany, legislation, primordialism, autochthony, models of minority protection