Research by Martina Plantak

  1. Introduction:

With visible globalization in today’s world, just as with the EU’s expansion, there are many new insufficiently substantiated issues. One of these issues are certainly questions about integration and identity, which are trying to give an answer to different types of complicated terms, such as “Who are we and what makes us unique in relation to others”, or more precisely, “what makes us similar and what distinguishes us from others.”  As Bauman points out, “to be somewhere partially or completely unobstructed, to be somewhere in the carriage, it can be a disturbing, sometimes painful experience. Something needs to be explained, for something to apologize, something to hide or, conversely, to show boldly, etc. “(Bauman 2009, 18)

This paper primarily deals with the question of the identity of the second generation of migrant offspring from the former Yugoslav republics[1], born in the Republic of Slovenia. By studying primarily the personal and collective identity, as well as the problems of stigmatization and discrimination, (taking as a starting point the hypothesis that offspring are discriminated because of their family roots, the way of speech and through the diversity of their personal names and surnames), this paper will try to find out whether, because of  the above mentioned thesis, these people have a need to form some special group apropos subculture.

This is a generation of people bridged between two cultures, who were mostly born in Slovenia, but have a parent who are Non Slovenes.  In other words, even though they have Slovenian citizenship, in their upbringing and manner of behavior are strongly visible elements of another culture, precisely the culture of their parents. In layman’s terms, this is the generation which is struggling with identifying themselves, while trying to figure out to which nation and culture they belong to. The terms which are mostly used for these people are second generation, Non- Slovenes, tujci (strangers) and nowadays most common word čefuri.


  1. The meaning of the word čefur

Čefuri raus[2]  is nowadays not only in Slovenia, but also in other Yugoslav countries one of the well known phrases , as it can be seen as a graffiti on a lot of walls and buildings all over the Republic of Slovenia. Let us briefly explain the word čefur. According to the Dictionary of Slovenian Literary Language, the word čefur means “a member of any nation of the former Yugoslavia other than Slovenes living in Slovenia” or “a member of a subcultural group with a distinctive language, which is a mixture of Slovene and the languages of other nations of the former Yugoslavia.” (Dictionary of Slovenian Literary Language,  2018). In order to explain this word more sharply, we will be also using several laic definitions. While the Wikipedia is describing these words as “stylized word that deplores the inhabitants of Slovenia from other countries of the former Yugoslavia or are descendants of such immigrants.”  (Wikipedia, 2018), Razvezani jezik, online dictionary of living Slovene language, explains that Čefur is a form of subculture, which was formed in Slovenia after the collapse of the FYR. Čefur can have any nationality, but he is mostly considered to be a member or descendant of one of the FRY member states. It is also significant that it is mainly a young man who uses the “hard letter l[3]” and the Slovenes are mostly impatient to him. Young people generally choose to become čefurs, because they can feel stronger and more important through this, since they are often pushed away from the domicile society / environment. (Razvezani jezik, 2007)  It is actually about a group of young people who often use two different languages and two different grammars because of the use of some other language[4] at home and Slovenian language in another environments (schools, for example). They can also say and pronounce some words or voices differently than someone whose parents are Slovenians.

By another secular definition, Čefur can be a person who does not tolerate Slovenes and Slovenia and he is always violent, chauvinistic, and maladjusted. It is mostly about the generation of 14-23 years, which steal from Slovenes, beat and insult them, sometimes even rape and kill them. There is also a difference between the words čefur and čapec.The second ones are considered to be the čefurs with the Slovenian origin. (Razvezani jezik, 2007)  It could be said that it is a very special and specific sub-cultural circle.

According to the Dictionary of Slovenian Literary Language, a subculture is a special culture of a group of people, other than culture, whose part it is. (Bajec and others 1994, 1330) Unlike the previous large subcultures, in the nineties of the last century, a multitude of small subcultures have evolved, such as neopunks, rokabillies, and čefuri as a subculture in Slovenia. They all share the desire for pleasure, retreats and having fun, as well as the battle against imposed norms of society and the desire for freedom. According to Bauman, liberating would mean that we feel free of all limitations and that we can act freely in accordance with our wishes, emphasizing that one feels free if his imagination is not bigger than his real wishes and if his imagination and desire do not exceed the ability to act. Bauman shares this with “subjective” and “objective” freedom, that is, the subjective and the objective need for liberation. (Bauman 2011, 23-24)



As Luketić (Luketić 2013, 227) states,

In order to make it easier and gain a certain image of oneself, its history, its identity and its culture as special and unique, we need to find those “Others.” This thesis is best reflected in the processes of post-Yugoslav countries that, by building their own narrative about themselves, and by declaring neighboring cultures and nations different, they are considered to be less valuable, inferior, powerless, and hostile to “us.” The neighbors became exclusively barbarian. Nevertheless, despite stereotypical narrations and imaginations, communion is recognized in relatively similar social processes in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro. /…/ They connect them with the ease of accepting the Western imaginations and metaphors, their transfer to their first neighbor, and the formation of some distinctive, Balkan imaginary images of Others, as elements embedded in a national identity.“

Identity, as a part of collective consciousness, is based on a sense of belonging to a language, race, territory or religion, and in the given situation it is the basis for identification. A shared or similar historical structure creates identity or identities that are recognized. Historical identity contributes to the understanding of groups (nations) that are torn between multiple and cultural affiliations. This view can be applied to FYR discourses. Historical identity is based on events that are important to the community. However, one’s own identity can only be defined by delineating with “non-identical. “This means that borders have a significant impact on determining identity. When it comes to cultural boundaries, it is their own culture that opposes or confronts another, where the crossing of borders is expressed as a positive human experience. In direct contact with the identities we come if they are different, and therefore with different norms and values. (Verhaeghe 2016,13)  Paul Verhaeghe further emphasizes that identity was sometimes influenced by local stereotypes, while current stereotypes are globalized and socio-economic, such as the majority opposed to ethnic minorities. The point of all these stereotypes is to feel more valuable, to show ourselves as more civilized or intelligent. Also, such clusters are almost always associated with external features (skin color, dress style), which are then used in discussions about cultural integration. And when these differences are not enough, they should be made visible. For example, the requirement that Jews in the third realm wear the star of David on their clothes. The significance of these identity symbols is the measure of our own uncertainty. If we take an example of an Indian child born in an Indian village, but it is settled in Paris or Amsterdam, it will take over the identity of the French or Amsterdam. If later, when she grew up, she decided to look for her roots, she could understand that she was a stranger in her own country. Even a bigger stranger, because her appearance (hair, skin) could show some resemblance to local people, but that does not exist. (Verhaeghe 2016,13-16) This can also be seen from a few interviews which were made with couple of members of the first generation of immigrants living in Slovenia, where they say that they do not have any intensions to go back to their homeland, because, after living for some time in Slovenia, they became strangers to their domicile population.

“…the neighbors in Bosnia were more, how to say it, they were a little bit jealous, you are going to the city, and we will stay here…

… I have not so much socialized with our people, because I do not like to socialize with this type of people, because they are more panic and more jealous, if everything is alright, if you have a nice life and how can you love Slovenes better than us…” (Kobolt 2002, 119)


To be able to understand it better, it is important to show and to explain the differences between the cultural, social, personal and collective identity.

The concept of culture encompasses every part of personal life and has an immediate impact on patterns of individual behavior. Culture is a learned way of living in the group and the response of the group to different stimuli. Culture can be defined as a set of values and patterns of learned behavior that are shaped for being within a given society. There are two mechanisms that enable it: cultural heritage as a way of transferring cultural values and norms from one generation to another and, borrowing other cultures as a way of taking over and imitating certain elements of other cultures. There is also a common belief that culture must have three characteristics: that culture is learned, meaning that the members of the group take over the culture for a longer period of time and are transferring her from generation to generation; that culture is interwoven, meaning that one part of the culture is strongly associated with its other parts, and that culture is shared, which means that the principles of culture extend to other members of the group. (Jurše 1993,56) According to Jelovac (Jelovac 2000, 13), culture is „awareness of oneself, space and time in which we live; awareness of the common understanding of the past, the creation of the present and the planning of the future; an instrument by which we maintain awareness: language, values, faith, ideology, tradition, art, science, ect.. The space in which this consciousness is maintained: the homeland, the state, Europe, the western civilization, the world; while in the sense of awareness there is a culture of identity: personal, local, national, civilization. ” Geertz ( Geertz 1973, 89) considers culture to be a system of common knowledge, beliefs and values that are the basis of social, economic, political and religious institutions. For him, culture signifies a historically transmitted form of meaning embedded in symbols, a system of inherited concepts expressed in symbolic forms, through which people communicate, renew and develop their knowledge of life and attitudes towards it. Mr. Južnič emphasizes that the link between Slovenian national identity and culture is evident, but it is also important to highlight that Slovenian culture has survived for the last thousand years precisely through its culture, not through political, military or economic power. Culture has actually become a pillar around which political, economic and similar programs have been created. (Južnič 1993, 21)

Dean Duda considers that the cultural identity of a community is created on the basis of shared experience (inherited or acquired) that some group or community feels between and through which articulates its identity towards other people whose interest is different (usually the opposite) than theirs. Such cultural identity is realized through terms such as tradition, value system, ideas, institutional forms, etc.. The language is one of the most important identifiers of cultural identity, but at the same time it does not have to be a crucial cultural identity identifier. There are situations in which an individual and entire group, belong to (at the same time) two cultures that are sometimes related (in language, history, political-social circumstances), and in some other cases incompatible. (Duda in Prošev-Oliver, 2013)

In the case of second generation of immigrants from FYR living in Slovenia, language is often quite crucial cultural identity identifier. Slovenia, as the westernmost state of the former FRY, had its own geographic position with different impacts on language. Linguists assume that the Slovene territory was inhabited by various Slavic tribes and that this original division was also influenced by the development of dialects. Other factors were innovations that came from the neighboring Slavic languages, as well as the geographical structure of Slovenia with predominantly mountainous areas and its administrative and ecclesial division. From the twelfth century onward, the German population settled down on the Slovene territory, leaving its traces in the language. Also important was the contact of Slovene with other languages, such as German, Italian, Friulian and Hungarian. However, it is difficult to verify the extent to which the indigenous people affected the dialectical diversity. (Logar in Golles 2015, 19)

For this very reason, the Slovenian language is quite different from most other South Slavic languages. As already mentioned above, due to the difference in the accent and the pronouncement, South Slavic “hard l” compared to Slovenian “soft l”,can often be also the identifier of diversity and indicate that the person most likely comes from one of the South Slavic republics. Also, since Slovene grammar does not recognize the letter Ć, but only letter Č, and taking into account that most South Slavic surnames end in suffix -IĆ, the language can become the identifier of one’s differences which can lead to marginalization. Even the name giving can be very important in identifying and should refer only to one person, but vice versa, names can signify belonging to a particular group, as they may have “special semantic burden, cultural and even religious coloring.” (Južnič 1993, 189)

As far as identity is concerned, the most important source of genetic hardware is the language and it depends from the environment will language will be learned. Also, the specific nature of language and its use in the family where the child is raised can strongly mark the way the child thinks about himself.  (Verhaeghe 2016,23)

It is also important to note that the vast majority of immigrants who have came to live in Slovenia have never or have never fully mastered to speak the Slovenian language and that the mother tongue of their parents is most often spoken in the family circle. However, the personal name can also be defined by a surname, which already predetermines the origin. Similarly, an individual can either renounce or change his name. For example, changing letter Ć in his last name in letter Č, so that his origins will not be so visible to domicile population.

In fact, people often think that by changing of the surname or last name, they can give themselves a new identity, mostly just to make it easier to assimilate into a congregation, especially if they are not born in that country. (Južnič, 1993)


  1. Personal and Collective identity

The primary question we need to ask ourselves is „What is identity?“ and how can we define this term. In Oxford Dictionary of foreign words, we can see that the term originates from the Latin root of the word identitas and it is highlighting two basic concepts of identity: the concept of sameness (something is identical to something) and the concept of distinctiveness. Both of the concepts together presuppose continuity in time (consistency). (Nastran Ule 2000a, 3) As Jelić (Jelić 1999, 9) emphasizes, the notion of identity has already been precisely defined in medieval Latin by determining the true doctrine of Jesus Christ, his identity, since the Holy Trinity had to be precisely interpret, or to resolve the questions of the Father-Son-the Holy Spirit. The distinction between Latin derivations of Greek terms of sameness and similarity had to be clarified (the substitute idem/the same is converted into identicus or identical, which means one and the same).  This way, what Jelić considers being the essence of identity, is different from the others, which is, accorinding to him,  the easiest definition of identity. (Jelić 1999, 9-10)

If we try to dissect the very concept of identity, psychology and social sciences offer us more problematic seam concepts, such as self, subject and identity. The notion of identity is replaced by the concept of self and individuality in the question “Who am I?”. This question is characteristic from the aspects of the self as a distinctive, continuous and unified ensemble. This question does not persuade the subject to position himself in the relation of comparison, which is the most important characteristic of identity. “Identity cannot be equated with self or representation. Identity can show the common quality of the structure, but it is not the structure itself, but the process.” (Nastran Ule 2000a, 83 – 84)

Hall emphasizes that identities are constructed through differentiation. Only if we understand the relationship to the other, the relationship to what we are not and what others are missing, we can understand the construction of identity. Identities can function as a point of identification due to switching capacity and differentiation. (Hall 2000,18) Although in a different context, Laclau’s theory could be used here, claiming that the construction of a social identity is an act of power, because it is always based on the exclusion of something and the establishment of a violent hierarchy between two poles. As an example, there is a difference between white-skinned and dark-skinned people or women and men, resulting in the conclusion that women and dark-skinned people, who are defined as markers (marked expressions), are in contrast to uncharted expressions of white–skinned people and men. (Laclau in Hall 2000, 18) Likewise, in this context, differentiation between Slovenes and Non-Slovenes could be made, where Non-Slovenes become markers in contrast to the uncharted expression for Slovenes. From the above, it is concluded that identity has its meaning only if there is something different. In order for the question of identity to be set up at all, difference is needed and only with this difference can the design of identity be possible at all. (Močnik in Mencin Čeplak, 2003)

Identity is often defined as a combination of essential psychic qualities that characterize and differentiate a person, while within identity it creates a difference between objective and subjective identity. Objective identity is determined by clear objective features such as: physical features of an individual, name, biographical features /…/ Subjective identity is a personal, psychic, more experienced part of an objective identity. “(Nastran Ule 2000a, 84-85) The definition of identity can also be determined through a dimension stretching between “inner” and “external.” “The first group of definitions is centered around internal processes in the individual as a source of identity and identity in time. On the other side of the continuum, the concept of identity focuses on the cultural and social structures and conventions that affect it, what we are for others and for ourselves. Somewhere in the middle of the dimension there are more interaction definitions, which in their definitions overwhelm the psychological interior with a socio-cultural context.” (Nastran Ule 2000a, 85) According to Jelić (Jelić 1999, 10), „in terms of meaning, identity can be divided in two categories: absolute (complete) identity, which means a complete equality or sameness and it can be shown through the equation a=a, and relative identity, which has less rigorously emphasized sameness or equality and it allows a sort of deflection, for example, in the shades of the same basic color.“

Bauman quotes Levi-Strauss (Bauman 2011, 101-102), who in Tristes tropiques indicated that through the whole human history, two strategies were used: anthropoemic and anthropophagic.

“Antropemic meant to “recapture” or splinter others that were irrefutable to strangers and outsiders: banning their physical contact, dialogue, social openness and all varieties of commerciuma, symbiosis and connubium. The ultimate variants of this are today, imprisonment, deportation and murder. Its sophisticated modernized forms include spatial separation (city ghetto) selective access to spaces and selective ban on space usage. In case of Slovenia, following examples can describe at least as a connection between Non-Slovens or FRY immigrants and above mentioned strategy. In early nineties, precisely in 1992, 25.671 individuals were unlawfully deleted from the Register of Permanent Residents of Slovenia. These people had two things in common: they have lived there completely legal, as permanent residents, and that they originated from the republics of the former Yugoslavia. “On 26 February 1992, the authorities have removed from the Registry of permanent residents of the Republic of Slovenia without a legal procedure and without a decision – and therefore without the possibility of an appeal. This did not happen to the Germans, the French or the Americans who had the right to reside permanently in Yugoslavia. Their status in the new country was automatically adjusted: they became foreigners with a residence permit in Slovenia. “They have lost many rights, including schooling, housing and access to health. Many lost their jobs and hope for a pension and some of them were deported.” (Amnesty International, 2018) When it comes to spatial separation, most of them were and are still living in the neighborhoods called Fužine or Štepanjsko naselje, which are in public discourse seen as a ghetto. Also, for over a couple of decades, Muslims were not allowed to build a mosque in Ljubljana. Although they are currently finishing works, in some media, it is still visible the animosity towards this mosque.[5]

Also to mention, in 2001, a “Šišenska[6] Civil Initiative” was establish, in order to remove the foreigners from their local environment. Their arguments were that the Centre for foreigners is not to be placed in an urban environment, because the life habits of foreigners were disturbing and foreigners are threatening the safety of the local population because they are criminogenic. (Kralj 2008, 139)

“The second strategy consists of the so-called” dispossession “of alien substances:” swallowing “and” devouring “foreign bodies and spirits, so that through metabolism they become identical with the body that swallows them and that they are not able to discern from that body (from cannibalism to the forced assimilation). (Levi Strauss in Bauman 2011, 101-102)  One of the first theories about identity was me-you relationship, while the first development scheme for it was given by the American pragmatist philosopher and psychologist, Mr. H. Mead. This development scheme has over time become a paradigmatic model for many other identity theories. According to the author, in the first phase, the development of the subject is primarily defined by the relation of an individual to an important or significant one. Most often, those are the parents or educators who define basic social characteristics of an individual and teach the individual to understand his or her behavior. At this level, the emphasis is on identifying with the other and differentiating from the other. The next level or phase is called the me stage, where an individual is recognized through various social roles and internalizes rules, social expectations and social norms. At the level of the universal other, individual accepts the culture of his environment as the matrix of his actions and sees himself from the point of view of man in general, and not only as a member of a particular group. The ensemble of the relationship of a signifying second, generalized second and universal other represents the social identity of the individual, which is the source of social control in the individual over the individual. (Mead in Nastran Ule 2000b, 475-476)

According to Južnič (Južnič 1993, 11-22), the very term identity can be divided into two types:

– a personal identity pertaining to an individual and is made up of self-identification or identity which the perpetrator assigns to himself and the identification that the individual determines the company

– a group/collective identity that can be divided by the same, if it is a less divided society

Jučnič emphasizes that “the gap between individual and social identity is the source of many tensions, especially between the feeling of individuality and separation from all others and belonging to a community that diminishes individuality into grouparity. Among these “milestones” there is a man’s reflective consciousness, directing an identity that is both directly and indirectly. ” (Južnič 1993, 101)

Personal identity refers to an individual, but is characterized by its duality. It consists of:

– Autoidentification, which is the identity that an individual attributes to himself and which he considers to belong to him and that he belongs to himself

– Identification that is assigned to an individual, which means that it is awarded or determined by the company, and such an identity is socially assigned and recognized or even imposed through the position, reputation, rights and duties which are socially defined (Južnič 1993, 11-12)

Taking over Mead’s structures, Goffman developed his identity theory, which is based on three categories, namely on personal identity, social identity and identity as their synthesis. (Nastran Ule 2000a, 181) Goffman defines the social identity as “categorizing oneself in the eyes of other people, attaching the attributes to the individual by other people who are intercepted with it.” (Goffman in Nastran Ule 2000a, 181) There is a real social identity and virtual social identity. Actual social identity is the category to which the individual actually belongs and the qualities that are provable, while the virtual social identity means that we attach importance to the individual in a potential retrospective, or as a consequential characterization. (Goffman 2008, 12)

Mead (Mead in Nastran Ule 2000b, 476) emphasizes that the social identity of an individual is “I” that is “the core of an individual’s personal identity”, while personal identity is shaped by “identity features” such as their own name, body characteristics, style of dress, communication, etc.. (Nastran Ule 2000a, 182) Personal identity is based on the idea of the uniqueness of each individual and its diversity from all other people. It derives from the personality trait of an individual and his relationships with others. Personal identity is based on individual values, ideas, emotions, goals, and how an individual sees himself. However, for personal identity, it is also necessary to be compared with others, that is, the fact that everyone sees themselves different from other people. (Jelić, 2003) According to Goffman, personal identity consists of a positive sign, that is, an identity  hanger and a unique combination of facts from an individual’s life that connects with an individual precisely through the hangers for his identity. Personal identity is therefore related to the assumption that an individual can be distinguished from all others and that this distinction can be added to an unreadable record of social facts … (Goffman 2008, 55) Basically, according to J.Jelić, identity has a dual structure and it consists from, on one side, autoidentification , which is marking the part of identity which the individual is attributing to himself (the way he sees himself or has an opinion about himself), while the second part is much more complicated and it belongs in the domain of identifications, which are already determined for an individual from the society. They can also be predetermined through the family identification.  Those identifications can be changed and quite often are reflected in the imposition of the role position, reputation or duty, which are determined or controlled by the society. (Jelić 1999, 12) To distinguish, we need a social identity that is a product of mutual comparisons with the essentials and group identity that is the result of comparisons within the group. (Nastran Ule 2000b, 477) An important emphasis is placed on individuality as a key determinant of personal identity, while the possibility of individualization depends on society, in the sense that the subjectivity and personal syncretism are introduced. (Južnič, 1993)

Južnič emphasizes that the unconclusion of identity is most visible and characteristic in the  society during times of major change or critical transition. These transitions may be linked to the general state of social or political disassociation or reorganization; however, acculturation can also be attributed to the identification of uncertainty, when the prolonged contact of cultural complexes creates uncertainties in their own identity and specific provocations of resocialization. (Južnič 1993, 121-122) In other words, it is often about adapting to a different cultural environment and even taking on other cultural goods and ways of behavior.

Identity represents a collection of features which are attributed to us by others. Together they form a more or less harmonious package of assurances about where we come from and where to go. Further, each identity stems from some skilful ideology, or, in some wise sense, the collection represents the relationship between people and the ways they apply to them. History shows that ideologies are very often shaped in contrast to other ideologies, and the consequences are us against them mentality. Also, we are not born with identity; what we become depends on interaction with others, the environment and culture, from which we receive or reject messages that consequently shape our identity. (Verhaeghe 2016, 32-38) “Since identity-related messages come from another, individual identities among individuals in the group show a high degree of similarity (from family to nation, with language as a connecting factor). In that sense we can talk about group or collective identity. These identities are also shaped through interaction in the wider environment and over a long period of time, and as such, they are never static and ultimately.” (Verhaeghe 2016, 39)

A collective or group identity is based in all the elements of the individual identity who are related to the definition of the group itself, which are common to a larger number of individuals, provided that the segments of the individual identity, which are not common to the entity are not enabling firmer idem sentire by the group members, respectively, it is visible in the group of elements which we recognize as common to all of us and sufficient to keep ourselves together, to be able to sensate that we. (Cerutti 2006, 24) In less complex and underdeveloped society, group identification has simpler structure, and it responds to Tönnis’s Gemeinschaft. This means there is high(er) degree of feeling of a mutual belonging, which is determined with long-term relation of joint living. It is about more permanent affiliation, attachment to one another, and because of the predetermined behavior, the feelings of bondage and mutual aim are dominating in this community. In this community, there are no deviations from the already established norms, while the community is above the individual and the relations in her are produced in the sense of paternalism.  „Personal identity comes down to an understanding of the communion, while the community, as an organic entirety, takes care of maintaining the inner nature between the individual and community.“ (Jelić 1999, 13) The second form of the collective/group identity can be reflected in second social type – Gesselschaft, which is defined as a society „where everyone is on their own, isolated, while the individual is always in a state of tensions against all others.“ (Jelić 1999, 15) In this society, the main focus is on interest, where the „interest for the other takes place in the context of utilitarianism or the „service rendered in return“, which means that everything is connected with the interest, which usually lasts as long as the transaction itself, although the connection with the other in the mind of an individual can last much longer, but objectively, this is a fiction.“ (Jelić 1999, 15) A collective or group identity is actually reflexive identity: one element is an element of group identity, because it is understood as such, respectively, it reflects in the consciousness of its members. As further stated, it is not important if it is consciously reflected in the consciousness of members of the one group, but, on the basis of what everyone imagines, one can build an ideal-type or a model of identity. It is gradual and formidable inter-subjective process, which implies struggle and negotiations within the group with the aim of defining own identity on one instead on another way. About this process is decided within the group, but not without the interaction with the outside world: how much the opinion that others have about us, influences the opinion that we have about ourselves, depends on the circumstances and historical time. (Cerutti 2006, 25-26) Metaphorically understood, identity has two aspects: aspect of the mirror and aspect of the wall. In normal forms of identity, the mirror is located in front of the wall and makes him possible, and in pathological forms, the wall is replaced with the mirror.

The notion identity – mirror is understood as one of the recognition functions: for one group of people to identify themselves and to appear with those characteristics in front of other, their members need to define general values and general goals of joint life, as well as to share some thoughts about the common past, both close and distant. /…/ Shared life in the group gives meaning to slightly different factors: recognition of common interest (material or ideal) and recognition of affiliation to the group and the mutual solidarity. To be able to talk about the identity in the true sense of the word, the members of the group, except that they have common goals, should have the feeling of belonging to joint destiny. There are also group identities, and for cause of this study also more important, in which the construction of the feeling takes place predominantly and primary by showing and by bringing to extremes the differences in others, by enhancing the competitive elements and through conversion of unimportant things into the signs of our own superiority. The appearance of these types of identity follows the behavior of the groups, which is extending on the ladder from local passivity to the segregation from ethnic nationalism to racism and all the way to genocide. (Cerutti, 26 – 29) Južnič highlights that all national states had to their own nation a relationship of defense and development, without any threats or pressure from the outside, but by themselves, autarkically. National identity as a kind of collective identity points to similarity within a group as well as to intergroup diversity (diversity in relation to others). National identity implies a sense of belonging to a social (national or ethnic group) and the belief that these components and related interests and goals can be realized in that ethnicity or by using it. As national identity is simultaneously based on objective elements (language, statehood, religion), but also on subjective (awareness of one’s own national affiliation or subjective feeling of belonging) to the concept of nation as a community, national identity is a paradoxical phenomenon. However, the biggest problem is that nationalist ideology seeks these cultural and ethnic differences to rise to the level of the political principle because the only legitimate type of national self-government is the rule that opens up issues related to state power and questions of inclusive or exclusivity. (Stanković Pejnović, 2010) The problems of identity manifold and hybridity were expressed in these spatial coordinates as the vast majority of inhabitants who lived under the influence of many different ethnic, religious, cultural and ideological paradigms. (Luketić 2013, 278) Južnič points out that the “Slovenian national identity” and the culture belonging to it are something unconstitutional. Both are based on the roots of national substance, mother tongue, tradition, customs, cultural patterns and religious practices. From this it is seen the contradiction of something that is to Slovenia, national identity and culture outside, it is a struggle between our and the other. If we take this model as a starting point, then we can follow the programs that should “defend” the Slovene national culture and identity, primarily before the threatening forces, and these forces always come from outside, that is, the problem is in others, not in Slovenians. (Južnič 1993, 23)

Identities are determined by the community in which it is formed, and thus by the method of exchange that is typical of this community. “( Verhaeghe 2016, 103) If the societies differ in the ways of editing relationships and giving values, as well as the norm, different identities can arise, and these differences in cultures and identities often lead to thinking of us against them, although this us also changes. Also, rooting social change can also lead to change of identity. (Verhaeghe 2016,112) For example, there is a big difference between the first and the second generations of FYR immigrants. While the first generation primarily came to Slovenia because of economic reasons, the second generation was already born there, speaks Slovenian language and has some different plans and expectations as their parents had.



“When someone is too similar to us, we want to distance this person, so that they can emphasize the difference. While, when someone is too different to us, we try to make him similar to ourselves  or to be equal to him (join if you cannot win it). And that very identity is the hunt for balance between scorn and distancing – between identification and separation. I am who I am because I belong to this very group – and certainly not to the other one. The more and individual rejects the other group, the more he feels the connection with his group,. In other words, when the cohesion of a group falls, the identity becomes weaker and better chaotic and increases the aggressiveness of the same group within the group.” (Verhaeghe 2016, 35)

From the point of view of psychoanalysis, the process of identity formation can spill in two ways – both waters in aggression. If there is a large degree of identity and identity in the society, we get uniform groups with leading authoritarian characters who try to shift the aggression to the outside or to the other group. The same can be the reverse process – if we focus on separation and individuality, the process of forming the group will start to suffer, leading to modernity, social isolation and loneliness (Verhaeghe 2016, 36-37). As mr. Verhaeghe further emphasizes  ” it disperses narcissistic aggressiveness to the mirror, which we already know in other instances of knock of dissatisfaction and envy. If this aggressiveness is directed at others in the immediate vicinity, it does not need much to come to terms of violence. “( Verhaeghe 2016,37)

Also, it can be stated that a stranger has characteristics that are different from others and can change it to a less desperate and even a person who is bad, dangerous, or weak. This is a stigma. “The term stigma is used for lasciviousness, which is a disclaimer of discord, but we have to go back to the language of the world. It is easy to be able to stigmatize the type of person who is capable of practicing the custom of the other in himself, neither by himself, nor by the faithful nor the shameful. “(Goffman 2008, 12)

The stigma is understood as a social relationship that clings around certain characteristics, specialties and also privacy, which the society discriminates in its standardization. Discrimination is pronounced when a stereotyped attitude or attitude towards some, and in some societies, even of any deviation to a standardized one is established. A person who transgresses a tolerant threshold is stigmatized. “(Južnič 1993, 122)

Goffman (Goffman 2008, 13) distinguishes three types of stigma. First, bodily repulsion or different physical exaggeration. Another type of character weakness, while the third type of group stigma of race, nationality and religion is easily transmitted from knee to knee and can equally absorb all members of one family. The question that arises is “how is an individual stigmatized responding to his position?” Gofmann points out that in some instances he attempts to fix it directly, in what he sees the objective basis of his lack of flexibility. He also emphasizes that, if such negligence can be corrected, the individual will not have the full status of normal. Also, a stigmatized individual can use his stigma as a justification for failures.  (Goffman 2008, 16-17) For example, a student can claim that he got a bad grade because of his surname or last name.

Goffman adds that “a large number of those belonging to a given category of stigmatized can name the whole of its members with the term group, or with its equivalent, such as us, or our people. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that all of these stigmatized individuals have a certain reason and pattern for interaction with each other, and tend to enter a particular social group, in which all members come from the same category. Likewise, the pattern is that when an individual of the same category joins other individuals of the same category, both tend to change mutual treatment because they believe they belong to the same group. (Goffman 2008, 28) For example, when they realize that they both have origins in one of the former Yugoslav republics, individuals will quite often start to speak in so-called Serbo-Croatian language. As another quite interesting example, being stigmatized from another (mostly larger group) can bring a group of people more closely, despite their differences. Due to a war in Yugoslavia, ethnic relations between Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks,  living in the same area in some other post-Yugoslav country are mostly still very tense. In a lot of towns and municipalities (especially in the ones where other nation makes the biggest minority), society is still extremely divided. Scholars are still nowadays going to classes only with the children who share the same nationality.  In some schools they are also attending lectures in different shifts, which means, that the mutual communication and possible integration cannot happen. On the other hand,  in Slovenia, being rejected or discriminated from the domicile population, as well as being stigmatized as as a Non-Slovene or Čefur, stimulate scholars and young people to make a better and closer connection with one another, regardless to differences in nationality, religion or history.



The aim of this paper was to present and at the same time to bring closer the identity issues with which a certain group of people can meet. Identity does not exist without us as well as without the others. Searching for similar interest groups and inclusion in them is one of the primary social functions of an individual. Immigrants in every country, including Slovenia, should be considered as a normal migration process, especially today in the globalized world. By changing the environment, the perception of the self changes and changes accordingly also the identification processes in the individual. Immigrants of the second generation, often marginalized and discriminated by a domicile population, even though that they all national and citizens rights, can often create the resistance which is manifested through the formation of different groups or subcultures, which in many ways, ranging from speech to style of dressing, are largely different from common standards and behavioral norms. Such resistance can often lead to divergence and aggression, which is even more distancing them from some standard norms of behavior and consequently they become the identifier of anything bad and undesirable. But on the other hand, because of the discrimination from a predominant group, discriminated people can create a much stronger community where primary identification factors, such as culture, nationality and ethnicity, are reduced to the ultimate minimum.


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[1] In later text FYR.

[2]Čefur is common deteriorating name for the people coming from one of the former Yugoslav countries, while “raus” is german word for “go away/go out”. This phrase became known because of the title of Goran Vojkovićev’s book “Čefuri raus”, which was one of the bestsellers in Slovenia.

[3] There is a difference in pronouncing the letter “L” in Slovenian language and in other FRY languages. This different pronunciation can be a

[4] Mostly Serbian or Croatian language.

[5] Biserka Kaneža. (2018.) Džamija v Ljubljani: nastaja v prestolnici muslimanski geto? (Mosque in Ljubljana: the Muslim ghetto is being built in the capital?) Available through: (23. November 2018)

[6] Šiška, one of the neighborhoods in Ljubljana.