Migration and Freedom
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Migration and Freedom

Mobility, Citizenship and Exclusion

Brad K. Blitz

Migration and Freedom is a thorough and revealing exploration of the complex relationship between mobility and citizenship in the European area. Drawing upon over 170 interviews, it provides an original account of the opportunities and challenges associated with the rights to free movement and settlement in Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Russia. It documents successful and unsuccessful settlement and establishment cases and records how both official and informal restrictions on individuals’ mobility have effectively created new categories of citizenship.
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Chapter 8: Discrimination and immobility in Slovenia

Brad K. Blitz


They erased us from the register of permanent residents. They put us in the central register – in this register you can find the people who are dead. This data goes to the archives. This is the end.(D.R., interview with the author, Maribor, 15 June 2004) This chapter investigates the ways in which restrictive citizenship laws deprived tens of thousands of residents of the right to freedom of movement through the cancellation of their residency status. It describes the processes by which more than 25,000 former Yugoslav citizens were deleted from the Slovenian State Register in 1992, were stripped of their acquired rights and subsequently became known as ‘erased persons’. Beginning with a brief review of Slovenia’s political transition from the late 1980s to the present day, it describes how political elites and the national media channelled public opinion against ‘Southerners’ from the former Yugoslavia in order to reposition Slovenia as a European state outside the Balkans. This in turn created new social categories of citizen and non-citizen. The following section examines the facts of the erasure before introducing the empirical findings that explore the processes of forced alienation, the loss of residency and mobility rights, and the way in which the concept of erased person has been constructed. Perceptions of erased persons are examined through personal testimony and official discourse.

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