“Otherness” As a Prerequisite for Self-Identification? Europeanization and Identity Change Regarding National Minorities

Monday, 11 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Katharina CREPAZ, Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy and Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany
My paper aims to address the paradox of identity continuity and identity change regarding different national minorities in 'old' and 'new' (post-2004) EU member states, and to shed light on how Europeanization processes may influence these developments. For national minority groups, an identification as being "different" from the majority population is essential, as its different characteristics (e.g. in language and culture) provide the basis for the demanding of group rights and safeguarding measures. Keeping a distinct minority identity is therefore important for its long-term goals of preserving its identifying, differentiating features. On the other hand, minority identity does not exist in a vacuum, and is heavily influenced by socio-political processes of change, such as European Integration. I therefore argue that identity continuity and identity change are not mutually exclusive concepts, but rather that they precede, overlap and complement each other. I aim to look at the conditions under which identity becomes permeable, and on how shifts in emphasis on minority identity take place. The German-speaking minority in South Tyrol (Italy), the Italian minority in Istria (Croatia) and the German minority in Silesia (Poland) will serve as case studies to illustrate these developments.