Analysis of Inaugural Presidential Addresses in Croatia and Slovenia from 1997 to 2014 :: [>>>]
Bebić, Domagoj; Volarević, Marija
Inaugural addresses are important tools in political communication because, unlike other presidential addresses, inaugural addresses are given at the beginning of the term and are considered to be programmatic. Since their separation from Yugoslavia, Croatia and Slovenia have followed different paths of democratic development. The purpose of this paper is to compare the themes emphasised in recent Croatian and Slovenian presidential inaugural addresses to gain a better perspective of the events and topics considered most relevant by the main political leaders in these countries. Using an inductive qualitative approach, this research determined that presidents of both countries referred most to: the economy, domestic policy, democracy, regional relations, national history, national elements, international relations, the European Union and the NATO Union. Furthermore, the qualitative content analysis showed that, due to the countries’ different socio-political situations, the presidents referred to each topic differently, with different foci and notions.
keywords: presidential inaugural speeches; Slovenia; Croatia; content analyses; inductive qualitative approach;
Nationalism has marked the democratic transition of many post-communist societies, including Croatia. It showed its liberal character by fostering democratic change and achieving national independence, but it also manifested itself as exclusive ethnocentrism, which considerably slowed down the democratization process and imposed itself as its main characteristic. The author challenges the view that ethnocentrism as inherent characteristic of the so-called Eastern (ethnic) nations, which are consequently undemocratic and prone to ethnic conflicts, while the liberal character is attributed as inherent to nationalism of Western (civic) nations. Besides the explanation of various aspects of nationalism in Croatia, the author draws attention to its primary structural and contextual conditionality, particularly highlighting the framework of political unfreedom and limited modernization during the communist period and specific conditions of democratic transition characterized by process of nation-state establishment and the war of independence. Here nationalism appears as an expression of patriotism and political identification, but also as a response to social, political and value discontinuity and particularly as reaction to external aggression. The author denies its inherency, since it is not some “innate” cultural trait, but a social phenomenon that is dominantly caused by the social and political context. Nationalism in the period of democratic transition in Croatia, despite its undoubtedly ethnocentric manifestations, in essence still was liberal. After the war and renewed processes of democratization there was a significant decline of ethnocentrism and strengthening of liberal features of nationalism.
keywords: nationalism ethnocentrism democratic transition nation-state post-communist societies Croatia