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Ethnicity Studies 2003

Social Adaptation of Ethnic Minorities

Natalija Kasatkina The Adaptation of Ethnic Minority Groups: Defining the Problem (Case of Lithuania)

This paper reviews the adaptation strategies among various ethnic groups in Lithuania. The four variants – assimilation, integration, separation, and marginalisation – are seen as the specific outcome of status, social relationships, and ethnic identity. The context of the four strategies is conceptualised through discussion of the relevant notions of ethnic studies, the importance of status groups, and adaptation challenges. The specific contents of the four are analysed on the basis of survey and interview materials that cover the topics of identification, social distance, closure of social networks, and civic activity. The specific sampling approach was worked out in order to achieve a reliable cross-group comparison of five ethnic samples (Lithuanian, Russian, Polish, Jewish, and Tatar).  This study aims to overcome the tendency to see minority integration as an issue that can be fully solved politically, and to reveal the contents of ethnic relations and remaining social challenges through sociological analysis.

Article in English

Seppo Lallukka The Phenomenon of Internal Diasporas in Russia: The Case of the Mari

By examining theoretical definitions as well as empirical observations, the argument is developed that the phenomenon of diaspora does not necessarily involve an international dimension. In the Russian Federation an example of this is provided by those members of non-Russian nationalities who have within the federation a titular autonomous unit but who live outside it. In this paper, I attempt to typologize possible trajectories of identity development in major Mari diaspora communities. Evidently, variations of integration and assimilation constitute the most widespread identity options facing them.

Article in English

Nadezhda Lebedeva Interethnic Relations and the Acculturation of the Non-titular Population in Estonia and Lithuania: A Sociopsychological Perspective

The empirical social-psychological study of interethnic interaction in Estonia and Lithuania was a part of the project “Democratisation and The Ethnic World: models of regulation of ethnopolitical crises”. The main aim was to study a social-psychological discourse of interethnic relations and the degree of its overlap or contradiction with the ethnopolitical (public) discourse. In this paper, we shall focus on some data from this project that regards acculturation and those elements of the discourse that have to do with adaptation of the non-titular populations to the changing contexts of their societies in a time of broad political and economic reforms and democratisation.

Article in English

Michal Vašečka Social Exclusion and Double Marginalisation: Roma in Slovakia after 1989

The article deals with an issue that is becoming one of the most important challenges to Slovakia and its social, political, and economic development in the 21st century. The article describes the factors that led to the rise of the debate on Roma issues in Slovakia. The author is intrigued by the specificity of Roma as a national minority, and he describes the pre-1989 conditions of the current unfavourable socio-economic situation of Roma communities in Slovakia. In an attempt to explain why whole communities of Roma have been sliding deeper into poverty, the author focuses on the policies of the communist state toward Roma, the demographic behaviour of Roma, the unpreparedness for the social and political changes of 1989, and consequently, the process of the ethnicisation of poverty. The article describes the processes of social exclusion, social isolation, and double marginalisation of Roma in Slovakia and analyses the strategies that the Roma and the majority population use to deal with poverty.

Article in English

Vida Beresnevičiūtė Dimensions of Social Integration: Appraisal of Theoretical Approaches

This paper focuses on the main theoretical points of the concepts of social integration, social participation, social exclusion, and social capital. They cover determinants that condition a certain position in the social environment, as well as possible resources that determine different integration strategies or adaptation routes in different groups. I consider them in the context of ethnic studies and the social and cultural status of ethnic minority groups in particular and highlight their relevance for developing empirical research. References to various social studies and research are used to illustrate analytical methods and their empirical implications.

Article  in English

Eglė Rindzevičiūtė Discursive Realities: The Construction of National Identity in the Documents of Lithuanian Cultural Policy

In this paper the author has tried to map a possible conceptual approach, which would combine both discourse studies and cultural policy studies and to apply this theoretical framework to the analysis of state policy documents. The paper focuses on the case of Lithuania, an Eastern European country that experienced secessionist nationalistic upheaval in the late 1980s and currently faces the process of European integration. The ongoing debate about Lithuanian cultural policy, which started in the very early 1990s, is an exemplary case of the complex process in which traditional local thinking about nation, culture, and identity clashes, merges, and/or coexists with ideas and norms imported from Western Europe. The author argues that during the whole of the last decade Lithuanian cultural policy maintained its nationalistic character and the ongoing process of European integration is not diminishing the power of ideas characteristic to traditional Lithuanian nationalism.

Article  in English

Artūrs Jansons Ethnopolitics in Latvia: Ethnopolitical Activities of State Institutions and Non-governmental Organisations and their Influence on the Social Integration Process

The article is based on data from the survey “The Ethnopolitical situation in Latvia and its influence on the social integration process in the year of 2000”. Through the commentary, the general climate of civil activism and ethnic relationships is highlighted. The paper concludes that despite many organisations, there is little constructive interaction between them; therefore their input in promoting social integration has been limited so far – both from the governmental and the non-governmental sides.

Article in English

Danuta Borowska Lithuanian National Minority in Poland: Self-organisation of a Minority Group

This paper reviews the situation of the Lithuanian minority in Poland by describing the main organisational efforts and public activities of the minority. The issues of non-governmental and political participation, language use in education and media, and cultural activity are covered. Alongside, the relevant data on population are presented. The overall climate in which minority lives is highlighted by remarks on minority-related Polish legislation and attitudes of the general public. The conclusion is made that the Lithuanians’ strong skills of self-organisation has helped to maintain a distinctive ethnic community in spite of its small size and an occasionally non-supportive environment.

Article in English