Equality and non-discrimination in the post-Yugoslav space
: Intersectionality under law in Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia

  • Biljana Kotevska

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research explores how intersectional inequalities are addressed under law in a post-socialist EU accession context, by focusing on ethnicity, gender and disability in the field of public employment in the post-Yugoslav space – in Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia. Further, it identifies challenges to addressing intersectional inequalities under law and whether and how these were shaped by the EU accession-related processes and the Yugoslav socialist past.

The existing knowledge on equality law in post-socialist context rests exclusively within the realm of gender equality. It is largely focused on the “10+2 enlargement round” countries and has not considered the specificities of the Yugoslav socialist past or engaged with relevant literature originating in the region. In addition, studies on addressing intersectional inequalities under law itself have thus far focused primarily on common law countries. This is where this research comes in. It generates new knowledge on how law and policy in post socialist countries address inequalities, moving beyond a single-axis approach to equality and focusing on the post-Yugoslav space and its specificities. The research is organised around and guided by the following research questions:

Q1. How intersectional inequalities on the grounds of gender, ethnicity and disability have been addressed under equality law in Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia in the field of public employment in Yugoslav times (1950-1991) and afterwards (1991-2017), and which challenges to addressing these inequalities can be identified?

Q2. What has been the role of the Yugoslav socialist past and of the EU accession-related processes in the origin, nature and scope of these challenges and in this respect - what has been the relationship of these two processes?

Q3. How does the exploration of the post-Yugoslav space inform the knowledge on addressing intersectional inequalities under law?

The thesis draws on and contributes to intersectionality as a meso-level theory and to theories of equality law by discussing how to address intersectional inequalities under law. It draws on historical institutionalism as a methodological approach for explaining change over time. The research also generates empirical data via semi-structured interviews with relevant stakeholders and policymakers (including legal practitioners), and collects data from the state and former federal archives, via archival and library search.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorDagmar Schiek (Supervisor) & Christopher McCrudden (Supervisor)


  • intersectionality
  • equality
  • non-discrimination
  • post-yugoslav space
  • croatia
  • macedonia
  • slovenia
  • yugoslavia
  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • disability
  • intersectional discrimination
  • multiple discrimination

Cite this