chapter  8
32 Pages

Nationality, citizenship and identity

ByLouise Jackson

The transformation of identities at the individual, group and state level has been an important aspect of transition in the post-communist countries. The rapid economic, social and political changes the countries have experienced mean that people’s identities have undergone alteration, for example people who were once state workers are now ‘businessmen’, or ‘unemployed’, and are having to adjust to completely new ways of defining themselves. Such transformations have also occurred in the sphere of national/ethnic identities. Citizens who previously thought of themselves as ‘Soviet’ or ‘Yugoslavian’ are being forced to rethink their identities as political boundaries have undergone change in terms of their location, status or significance. In addition, states have attempted to redefine the identity of the polity and its people. This has often been defined as ‘nation building’, as it involves creating a sense of belonging among people in the new state (Brubaker 1996).