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The Dark Side of the Moon: Nationalism, Human Rights, and the Erased Residents of Slovenia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2019

Barbara Gornik*
Institute for Social Studies, Science and Research Centre Koper, Koper, Slovenia
*Corresponding author. Email:


In 1992, after the dissolution of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Slovenian government unlawfully erased 25,671 individuals—ethnically mainly Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, and Roma—from the Register of Permanent Residents of Slovenia. The aim of this article is to analyze the logic of the governmental rationalities that served as a basis for the politics of the erasure. The article begins by refuting claims that the erasure was a tactic for achieving ethnocultural homogeneity and continues by explaining the mindset involved in this particular practice of government, resting upon Foucault’s notions of raison d’état, governmentality, and sovereign power. Highlighting the prominence of the individual’s political opinion and loyalty to the newly established state, the article discusses the principles of nationalism, which reinforce the very common-sense exclusionary politics related to political loyalty implied in citizenship and ethnic identity. Finally, the article deliberates on the effects of the contemporary diagram of power of the nation-state, which legitimizes the exclusion of individuals from the national polity and thus immobilizes universal respect of human rights.

© Association for the Study of Nationalities 2019 

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