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Buying and Selling the Istrian Goat

Istrian Regionalism, Croatian Nationalism, and EU Enlargement


John Ashbrook

The majority of scholarly works on the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the establishment of its successor states focus almost exclusively on the national question. There is no major study of the subnational regional dimension, which had significant effects on the politics and political structures of these newly independent states.
This book addresses this deficit by examining the struggle of Istrian regionalists in the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS) against the nearly hegemonic nationalists of the Croatian ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Alliance (HDZ).
Using a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, this instrumentalist analysis assays the political historiography of Istria in the 19 th and 20 th centuries, provides an analytical case study of the regionalist conflict with the HDZ in the 1990s and into the 21 st century, illustrates how and why the regionalist party tried to influence both Istrians and Western Europeans in this struggle, and derives a critical analysis of the role of regionalism in European Union enlargement from this case study. It also shows that nationalists do not hold a monopoly on the politicization of identities.
Contents: Istrian Regionalism, Croatian Nationalism, and EU Accession – The Historiography of Istria and Ethnic Politics – The Politicization of National and Regional Identities in Istria – Buying the Istrian Goat: Regionalism and the Economy in Croatian Istria – Selling the Istrian Goat: The IDS and the EU.