On the Side of the Alps: The Image of a Slovene National European Identity
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This master thesis aims to analyze the Slovene success story of becoming independent relatively easily and accessing the European Union as the first former Yugoslav state. Using the Slovene documents of independence, the documents concerning Slovenia's accession to the EU, journal expressions, advertisements and documents of self-determination movements, it applies Benedict Anderson's theory on imagined communities. This analyzes how the idea of a European identity influenced the Slovene intellectual elite that advocated independence and European integration between 1985 and 2004. In this context, the Slovene nation and European community are described through the eyes of the Slovene intellectual elite as an imagined political community. This means that the feelings of national and European identity as experienced by the intellectuals, are historical and cultural artefacts, coming from a deep feeling of belonging. The intellectuals that advocated independence stand in a long tradition of Slovene intellectuals who have meant a great deal for the development of the image of a Slovene political community, and thus Slovene nationalism. The Slovene language has been an important and unifying factor in this. Besides, the Balkanization of the other former Yugoslav republics by the Slovene intellectuals has been important to emphasize the European character of the country. Finally, this thesis concludes that the idea of a European identity influenced the Slovene intellectual elite that advocated independence and European integration between 1985 and 2004 heavily. As the intellectuals were deeply integrated within society, this had a great impact on the country. The image of a European identity was widely accepted within society and therefore an important legitimation for independence. The arguments for EU accession after 1991 however, were often based on economic and political arguments. Still, the origins of the Slovene goal to achieve EU accession lie within the idea of an imagined European community.