Acceptance of Minority Rights: Slovenians in Italy

NATIONAL MINORITY AND ACCEPTANCE OF MINORITY RIGHT BY THE MAJORITY: THE CASE OF SLOVENIANS IN ITALY

PAOLO SEGATTI, SIMONA GUGLIELMI

Download PDF Article of Segatti and Guglielmi

Abstract

The central idea of this article is that the reasons to claim a minority right may be more important than the right itself. In other words, it might be that the majority group tends to be more reactive to the reasons put forward to claim a right than the actual content of that right. Specifically, we hypothesize that some Italian speaking might oppose the right of the Slovenians to manifest their presence in the city centre when this right is claimed on the basis of traditional topoi of the Slovenian national narrative. We provide empirical support for this hypothesis by analyzing a study on the Slovene minority in Italy, conducted in 2006 and 2008. Our analyses seem to show that a symbolic collective right, as the bilingual signposts are, may be more likely accepted if the argument in favour does not echo the standard national narrative. People care not only about the actual content of the right, but also the reasons put forward to claim that right. This suggests that there is room, even in a place deeply divided in the past, to develop arguments in defense of the linguistic, cultural and national pluralism that still characterizes many areas of Central and Eastern Europe that are based on liberal values and are different from those engendered by received national narratives.

Keywords: minority rights, Slovenian minority in Italy, national narratives