Istria in Croatia: The Politics of Plurinational Regionalism
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This chapter deals with the politics of plurinational regionalism as advocated by the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS), the chief regionalist party in Istria since 1990. It explains the electoral success of the IDS by focusing on the strategies of region building. To understand these processes, the chapter analyses historiography, the economy, and intergroup relations. Stjepanović shows that there is a growing Istrian historiography as opposed to exclusive Italian or Croatian national ones; that the national/regional identification in censuses are fluid and change over time as well as the relations between majority and minority; and that the region has a relatively homogenous economic structure, primarily centred around tourism. The IDS was successful in mobilizing these interests to appeal to broad sections of the Istrian society. The IDS steered clear from polarizing demands for autonomy, preferring to have the existing county framework adapted to address bilingualism and the cultural specificities of Istria.