LT 

Ethnicity Studies 2011

Andrius Marcinkevičius Foreword. Identity of Ethnic Minorities in the Baltic States: Between the Historical Memory and Contemporary Challenges

Article in Lithuanian

Dovilė Budrytė From Ethnic Fear to Pragmatic Inclusiveness? Political Community Building in the Baltic States (1988-2004)

This article traces the processes of political community building in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia from the times of national revival to accession to the European Union. In addition, it analyses international interventions — that is, the attempts of international actors to influence the policies of political inclusiveness and local responses to these attempts, including the development of national integration policies. Drawing on the author’s case studies published in Taming Nationalism? Political Community Building in the Post-Soviet Baltic States (2005), the goal of this article is to revisit recent historical events that are salient in the context of on-going ethnic tensions.

Article in English

Evija Kļave Language Choice and Usage in Social Interaction in Latvia: Discourse and Practice

In this article, based on quantitative and qualitative data, the author characterises the use of the Latvian and Russian languages in Latvia analysing the different models of language choice in every day interaction in public and private environments. The language monitoring studies run between 1996 and 2008 are used to evaluate Latvian and Russian language use habits, i.e. the level of language use practice. In turn, the qualitative data from focus group discussions carried out during the period from 2003 to 2005 is used in language use discourse analysis. The application of the principles of discourse analysis allows the existence of different and even conflicting language discourses to be identified that are common in Latvian and Russian language communities. According to discourse theory, the existence of conflicting discourses can lead to a wider sociopolitical conflict. The language discourse as a part of ethnopolitical metadiscourse illustrates the discursive conflict of both ethnolinguistic groups as a form of their power relations in the field of ethnopolitics, which is based on strict state language policy. Nevertheless, the research shows that discursive conflict between Latvian and Russian language communities is unlikely to transform into a social conflict.

Article in English

Monika Frėjutė-Rakauskienė Russians in Lithuania and Latvia: the Interaction of European, regional and Local Identities

The author analyses the data accumulated in the international collaborative research project “ENRI-East: Interplay of European, National and Regional Identities: Nations between States along the New Eastern Borders of the European Union” (2008–2011). The main sources of data are in-depth biographical interviews that were conducted by the author with informants of Russian origin in Vilnius (Lithuania) and biographical interviews (applying the same methodology) conducted with Russians in Latvia by researchers of Baltic Institute of Social Sciences (Riga). The author aims to compare how informants of Russian origin in Lithuania and Latvia construct their European, regional and local identities. The author analyses how informants of different age groups perceive their ethnicity, discusses if they identify with their country of residence, what are their connections with Russia, and their perceptions of the European Union. Data analysis revealed that ethnicity and ethnic identity is important for the surveyed Russians of all age groups in both countries. It is argued that the European, regional and local identities of the Russian informants in Lithuania and Latvia vary in accordance with age, when they immigrated to their adopted country and their place of birth, that is whether they were born in Lithuania or Latvia or abroad.

Article in Lithuanian

Kristina Šliavaitė In Search of Ethnic Identity: the Case of Belarussians in Vilnius

The author analyses 11 in-depth biographical interviews that were conducted in Vilnius with informants of Belarussian origin in 2010 in the frame of a collaborative international research project “ENRI-East. European, National and Regional Identities: Nations between the States along the New Eastern Borders of the European Union”. The majority of informants were born into ethnically mixed families, in a number of cases informants were speaking of an important moment in their lives when they “realized that they were Belarussians”, that is they “discovered their ethnic identity”. The author discusses how informants of different generations construct their ethnic identity, how the “boundaries” between “us” and “them” are constructed and maintained (Barth 1970). The data reveals that language and ethnic origin were important elements in Belarussian identity construction, however, at the same time, they were negotiated and subjectively chosen. Vilnius as a place and interpretations of the history of the Grand Duchy Lithuania were important themes running through interviews. It is argued that the empirical case supports theoretical perspectives that percieve ethnicity as a social and cultural construct and that ethnic identity is situational and ambiguous.

Article in Lithuanian

Vilana Pilinkaitė Sotirovič, Karolis Žibas Ethnic and Social Groups in Lithuania: Societal attitudes and their Changes

Since 2005 Institute for Ethnic Studies at the Lithuanian Social Research Centre is implementing public opinion polls to analyse attitudes of Lithuanian residents towards different ethnic and social groups (e.g. Roma, Jews, Muslims, refugees, etc.). On the basis of research results (2005–2011) article analyses social distance and compares attitudes of Lithuanian residents towards different social groups in Lithuania. Social distance was measured using three variables: willingness to live in the same neighbourhood, to work at the same workplace and to rent an apartment/house. Considering recent immigration trends (2004–2011), new variables for the analysis of societal attitudes were included, such as societal attitudes towards immigrants living in Lithuania and newly arriving immigrants, problems that immigrants face in Lithuania and attitudes towards migrant integration policies. The results of both researches are compared.

Article in Lithuanian