Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology), Vol. IX, no. 1/2011.
National Identity in the Political Discourse in Slovakia
Vol IX, no. 1, 2011, pp. 110-127
Author adress: Center for the Research of Ethnicity and Culture, Klariská 14, 811 03 Bratislava, Slovak Republic.
Abstract: The present paper seeks to integrate social identity theory and theory of social representations in the attempt to describe the links between the national identity and Slovakia’s attitudes towards the Other. The paper’s position is founded in the assumption that national identity is constructed and deconstructed discursively through the means of socialisation (media, education, legislation and everyday practices). Slovakia has recently adopted several controversial acts that substantially regulate the aforementioned means of socialisation, and are said to be designed to protect the nation, national identity and integrity which itself implies perception of a threat of some kind. It is hypothesized that rhetoric of such laws constructs national identity as one that is threatened by the Other while overemphasizing the presence of intergroup threat and conflict. Such discourse thus makes people defend themselves and re-evaluate their national identity by reaffirming who they are in the respective intergroup affairs. The conflicts not only heighten identification with a group but also create antagonistic intergroup attitudes. Through a brief discourse analysis of the abovementioned laws (Act on the State Language, Act on Citizenship and Patriotism Act) the paper aims to analyse social representations of nation and national identity in the political discourse and their potential impact on intergroup relations between the so called ‘Old Slovaks’ (ethnic Slovaks) and the Other. We thus seek to test the extent to which Slovakia adheres to the universalistic principles of equality and justice, or to which it heightens social significance of ethnicity and creates division within the society.
Keywords: national identity, intergroup relations, intergroup threat, discourse.
Cuvinte-cheie: identitate naţională, relaţii intergrup, ameninţare intergrupală, discurs.