Nation-State and Xenophobia

Our research will focus on the relation between the nation-state and theoretical and phenomenological aspects of the formation and functioning of post-socialist xenophobia. The term “xenophobia” here refers to a wider concept – not simply vague psychological concept.

Our main goal is to show that »post-socialist difficulties with xenophobia« are not connected solely with the sphere which we usually refer to as »social«. They are most probably related to the sphere of »politics« and/or »the state« or rather, they equally arise from excessively narrow, traditional or simply erroneous definitions of this sphere. The major part of xenophobic corpus is an almost »inherent« part of the social structure. But this understanding is definitely too narrow– a bulk of xenophobia, which has even greater weight but is nevertheless more ignored, is born within the realms of the state. It is thus institutionally structured.Our second goal is to prove that, looked at from the perspective of the »European history«, this is not a new phenomenon. Its basic traits stem from the understanding of the nation, state and politics as it has been perpetuated by classical theories. Those began with Machiavelli, were carried on by Hobbes and Hegel, and became »finalized« by Carl Schmitt. We shall therefore draw attention to the crucial areas in classical theories about the nation-state from which xenophobia arises per definitionem. This theoretical step will be followed by several others where we will focus especially on:

  • Media images of the state in post-socialism (the state as »an enterprise«, »family«, »extended family«, »community«, »society«, »association«, »home«);
  • Connections between migrations and xenophobia; here we will seek to answer the question of whether there really exists (a linear) connection between the two, since environments with little degree of migration also display a high level of xenophobia;
  • The conduct of post-socialist police corpses as the most exposed repressive apparatus; we will particularly concentrate on the examples of (im)migration flows

Project leader: Tonči Kuzmanić
Project coworkers: Gorazd Korošec, Simona Zavratnik Zimic, Vlasta Jalušič in Mojca Pajnik


Ministry of Education, Science and Spo