Ethnic Minorities: Elements in Defining and Hierarchisation of the Right to Difference

Migracijske i Etniĉke Teme. 2005;21(3):173-186


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Journal Title: Migracijske i Etniĉke Teme

ISSN: 1333-2546 (Print); 1848-9184 (Online)

Publisher: Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies

LCC Subject Category: Political science: Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration

Country of publisher: Croatia

Language of fulltext: Russian, Serbian, English, French, Croatian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Jadranka Čačić-Kumpes
Josip Kumpes


Double blind peer review

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Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 25 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The theme that this paper examines are minorities, or rather ethnic minorities, which are central within the framework of social phenomena and processes linked to the multiethnic and multicultural structure of contemporary societies. Proceeding from the assumption that clarity of concepts is a precondition for understanding and solving problems pertaining to ethnic minorities, the authors provide a critique of the definitions and differentiations of concepts from which, in concrete societies and in specific ways, the rights of ethnic minorities mainly derive. The problem is posed in the context of contemporary societies, especially the immigration societies of the European Union, and the authors note the ethnic heterogeneity of the latter and the declared general consensus on the right to difference and on the importance of this right. Comparing, on the one hand, the ethnic structures of fifteen countries of the European Union (based on census data and estimations), and on the other hand data pertaining to the legislative regulation of minority protection in these countries, the authors conclude that various forms of selective denial of equality of the right to difference are in action. Contemporary divisions distinguishing between formerly disprivileged traditional minorities that are striving towards their revitalisation, and new ethnic minorities that are being formed out of immigrant populations, open possibilities for new forms of discrimination. Therefore, the authors further conclude that an attempt should be made to make minority rights equal, also since establishing hierarchies of rights, as has been shown throughout history, may lead to frustrations with long-term consequences.