Dalmatia in Croatia: The Politics of Sectional Regionalism
The case of Dalmatia is understudied, partly due to the fact that it is a ‘negative’ case in the sense that there is currently very little regionalist politics taking place there. This is particularly interesting because Dalmatia has a historical precedent and prominent territorial institutions in the past, just like Istria. The Dalmatian case helps us revisit arguments on the role of institutional precedents and their role in the outcomes of sub-state politics. The chapter’s analysis, focusing on the Dalmatian Action party (in the 1990s) and the Olive (in the 2000s) shows that there exists a regionalist historiography (albeit not as extensive as in Istria); intergroup relations are rather static and marked by past conflict while the economy is clearly divided between the hinterland and the coastal areas. The Dalmatian regionalist parties were unable to mobilize cross-cutting cleavages and instead focused on a relatively small section of the society, lending its weight to calling this type of regionalism—sectional. Concomitantly, the central state used oppressive measures in the 1990s and the strategy of coopting local elites since 2000, both of which worked to diffuse any potential regionalist mobilization.