In our research we investigated how understandings of the right to receive social benefits, to work, and to remain in one’s place of residency when expulsion orders threatened changed when the bureaucratic category pertinency became the cornerstone of citizenship. We do this via a case study of the smallest Habsburg successor state, the port city Fiume (today Rijeka, Croatia). Analysis of Fiume reveals that new citizenship regimes in east-central Europe used Habsburg pertinency mechanisms not only to promote ethnic minority disenfranchisement and a more vocal nationalist culture, they also ensured that the most socially vulnerable had the hardest time claiming the rights associated with state belonging. We show how making pertinency the pathway to post-war citizenship left far more people – both national majorities and national minorities – at risk of becoming stateless than historians have acknowledged.
Ivan Jelicic is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of History, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Rijeka, and on the ERC project NEPOSTRANS at the Institute of Political History in Budapest. His interests are political, social, and cultural history of Rijeka and its surroundings in the late 19th and early 20th century, especially in the transition period.
Francesca Rolandi is a research fellow at the Masaryk Institute and Archive of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Her research interests range from the cultural and social history of the Upper Adriatic and post-Yugoslav area to the history of migration and refugees in twentieth-century Europe.
Dominique Kirchner Reill is Associate Professor in History at the University of Miami. She is the author of Nationalists Who Feared the Nation: Adriatic Multi-Nationalism in Habsburg Dalmatia, Trieste, and Venice (2012), which received the Center for Austrian Studies’ Book Award and Honorable Mention from the Smith Award, and The Fiume Crisis: Life in the Wake of the Habsburg Empire (2020), which received an Honorable Mention from the Jelavich Book Prize. Currently she is working on her next manuscript The Habsburg Mayor of New York: Fiorello LaGuardia.