"I am just a human being …". Ethnic Identification of Young Slovenes in Southern Carinthia
Demographic and socioeconomic data show that the youth of small ethnic groups, such as the Slovenes in Southern Carinthia (Austria), are threatened: Their ethnic survival is affected by migration processes, declining birth rates, increasing numbers of the elderly, shifting of identification through intermarriage, and the declining use of the indigenous languages. Moreover, through processes of globalization and individualization the younger generation has to redefine its identification. In this article I will present the qualitative, biographic approach of my research work: On the basis of selected case reconstructions I will demonstrate how three young Slovenes in Southern Carinthia identify and locate themselves in their respective ethnic group and how important—under circumstances of globalization processes—their ethnic identification is. Whereas young people who are well integrated in Slovene schools, families, and cultural organizations still feel deeply rooted in their ethnic group, those living in ethnic mixed families or in German speaking environments with biographical breaks, show distance, ambivalence, and various affiliation-conflicts, but with a feeling of belonging to their Slovene ethnic roots.
ethnic identification; Slovene ethnic group; Southern Carinthia; young generation