Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

The making of minority rights and the return to Europe: International norms and transnational actors in the Czech Republic and Romania

Safia Noel Swimelar, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The end of the Cold War, the twin processes of democratization and Europeanization in the Central and East European states, and the desire to prevent inter-ethnic conflict in the region have created new incentives and resources for the promotion and protection of minority rights. New democracies in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe have been struggling to create stable democratic institutions. The protection of minority rights is central to this process of democratization. Engaging the constructivist approach, this project seeks to understand the domestic impact of international minority rights norms and the actors who promote them by testing the utility of a current “spiral model” of human rights norm socialization concerning two cases: the Roma minority in the Czech Republic and the Hungarian minority in Romania. To what extent have public and private transnational actors been instrumental in not only changing state behavior, but in the social construction of identities and interests in the Czech Republic and Romania? ^ This dissertation has found that from 1990–2002, minority policy and the domestic salience of minority rights norms steadily progressed in both states generally according to the logic and progression of the “spiral model.” Initial changes in minority policy were made for instrumental reasons, but as the two states became increasingly enmeshed in the transnational minority rights network, further changes were also made for reasons of belief and identity. Both Rationalist and constructivist approaches taken together are best able to explain the outcomes. Minority rights, liberal democratic regime type, and the process of European integration have altered the context under which the “spiral model” operates resulting in: public actors being more significant than private ones, domestic elites being more amenable to change, and domestic political processes playing a larger role. Moreover, conflicting domestic norms regarding minority rights have not been a significant roadblock to improvements in the Romanian minority rights regime, but they have affected the process of socialization and the strength of the minority rights regime in the Czech case. ^

Subject Area

Political Science, General|Political Science, International Law and Relations

Recommended Citation

Swimelar, Safia Noel, "The making of minority rights and the return to Europe: International norms and transnational actors in the Czech Republic and Romania" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3092602.