Ethnicity Studies 2010

Natalija Kasatkina, Vida Beresnevičiūtė Ethnic Structure, Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector in Lithuania

The article is dedicated to discuss the differences of attendance of ethnic groups in the Lithuanian societal, political, social and economic spheres. Given the peculiarities of Lithuanian ethnic composition, population and changes in the composition, Lithuania’s situation is considered to be as a unipolar society, which is brightly dominated by one ethnic group. Analyzing and summarizing a variety of occupation (such as unemployment, the distribution of occupations in groups), education and other empirical data shows that despite the established assumptions of equal political participation, public sector in unipolar society tends to accept and implement the nation-state properties to ensure the most advantage of minority groups. This leads to a weaker integration of minority groups into the public sector. Comparing the different ethnic groups, the social inequalities are observed which confirm the social well-being of ethnic groups, i. e., measuring the change of their situation. To conclude, it is difficult to state that ethnicity stops or blocks career opportunities in the public sector, however, it is possible to draw conclusions on the lower level of participation of minority groups, compared with most groups in political parties or government agencies. In the end of article it is emphasized that in the context of the unipolar society  minority rights protection and equality remains as highly topical issues.

Article in English

Ingo W. Schröder The Making and Breaking of Collective Identities: Analytical Inspirations from the New Marxist Anthropology

Current conceptualisations of identity in the social sciences have been criticised for their postmodern vagueness which blurs the distinction between analytical and political readings of identity at a time when collective identities are enthusiastically proclaimed while simultaneously being increasingly undermined by the forces of global capitalism. This article seeks to overcome these shortcomings with reference to recent writings of some Marxist anthropologists that refer to the concept of hegemony to analyse identity as a cultural practice situated between local and global political economies. To investigate the analytical potential of Marxist ethnographies, the examples of Gerald Sider, Gavin Smith and Kirk Dombrowski are presented. Finally, the author’s own findings on the situation of Catholicism in Lithuania are introduced as a case for comparison.

Article in English

Tomas Balkelis Opening Gates to the West: Lithuanian and Jewish Migrations from the Lithuanian Provinces, 1867–1914

This article compares the transatlantic emigration of Lithuanians and Jews from the Lithuanian provinces of Russia to the West during 1867–1914. It explores the socio-economic and political changes that induced the mass migration and examines its dynamics, social profiles, agent networks, routes and ways of emigration. The article is based on a variety of sources including some archival documents and a rich body of secondary literature. By suggesting a degree of shared migratory experience and interdependence of these two migrations, the author calls for a comparative approach in studying the emigration experiences of different ethnic groups.

Article is available in English

Ada I. Engebrigtsen Good Governance? The Prophet Muhammad Controversy and the Norwegian Response

This article discusses the Norwegian government’s management of the crisis between the West and the Muslim world connected to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, published in Denmark and Norway in 2005 and 2006. While the Danish government rejected the efforts by Muslim leaders in Denmark who asked for some sort of official apology or regret that the drawings were published, the Norwegian government expressed their regret early in the process while at the same time emphasising freedom of speech and a free press as important aspects of democratic societies. These different reactions should be understood both as an expression of the different political situations in the two countries and as an expression of the different importance of the two publishing journals. The whole crisis should be seen as an important instance of the ongoing processes of religious integration that are taking place in Western countries as an aspect of the general civilising processes discussed by Norbert Elias (among others). The crisis raised a heated debate in Norway about the relation between individual rights as expressed by the freedom of speech, and collective rights as expressed by religious feelings among a minority. Several discussants criticised the government for meekness when confronted with Muslim threats. The author argues that precisely because of the ambivalence it expresses, the Norwegian management of this crisis was an instance of good governance; ambivalence being perhaps the only viable position in a multicultural society.

Article in English

Vida Beresnevičiūtė Rhetoric of Violence against Voiceless Minorities: Analysis of Press Reports on the Roma in Lithuania

This article analyses the reporting and portrayal of Roma, the representations examined are predominantly from articles in the Lithuanian press, in 2005–2006. These years were marked by an intensive flow of information on Roma issues and the database compiled from this information provides the author with an opportunity to apply quantitative analysis of the content of the media reports that is based on minority or media-analytical perspectives. From the evidence taken from different data sources, this article discusses dynamic and subject-matter changes of the constructed images of the Roma people. It is argued that within the dominating speech scheme, Roma are defined as an “other” group (usually as an external evil) that is distinct in its cultural norms, life style and other characteristics. Roma thus become an impersonal group that is portrayed as a “loudly chattering/loudly twittering/loudly shouting” entity – despite being considered a voiceless agent – and an unreliable part of a dialogue, which is involved in exclusi-vely negative activities (criminal behaviour, drug-dealing, threatening to society’s security, being unreliable neighbours, etc.).
The categories ascribed to Roma, and reoccurring in press reports, represent a rhetoric of violence that discloses discoursive power relations: the content of the reports is homogenous, controlled and generates recognisable definitions in social knowledge and structure of social relations that determine fear, anxiety, hostility, hatred and a high level of social distance towards Roma and transforms social interactions correspondingly. The rhetoric of violence instigates an atmosphere of fear that is reflected in the negative public attitudes towards Roma, and society constructs images that legitimate violence relations with Roma.

Article in Lithuanian

Vita Petrušauskaitė Dropping Out of School – an Issue of Disaffection, Non-participation or Social Exclusion? Analysing School Policies towards Roma Schoolchildren in Lithuania

This paper draws on Ann Hodgson’s analysis of how different perceptions of reasons for dropping out of school (disaffection, non-participation and social exclusion) lead to divergent policy proposals for tackling the problem. The reader’s attention is drawn to similarities between Hodgson’s insights and Ruth Levitas’s analysis of social exclusion discourses (moral underclass, social integration and redistribution). Using the framework of these two studies, the school policies towards Roma schoolchildren in Lithuania are analysed. The article concludes with some critical remarks on the analytical framework proposed by Hodgson and draws attention to other possible methods of analysis of the educational field.

Article in English