Ethnicity in the Global Baltics: Lithuanians on the Polish Border Regions

Vida Savoniakaitė (Lithuanian History Institute)

The changing ethnicity and national identity of Lithuanian minorities currently are central academic and social debates. Our research shows the correlation between ethnicity and the historical background of ethnic minorities. One of the Baltic ethnic minorities is the Lithuanian community on the Polish border region. These communities have interesting historical backgrounds, a developed tradition of education system, and strong features of the national identity. Globalization brings a new understanding of identity and alterity. New social contexts become important and even essential for creating new identities. How do Lithuanian minorities describe their identities, how do they understand the otherness? That’s the main problems of surviving democratic society in current global social situations.

Our aim is to analyze how Lithuanian communities on the Polish border regions describe their ethnic identity and how they understand otherness. We’ll discuss the issues by comparison of theoretical debates in the current anthropological thought as well as by analyzing the data of our ethnographical research in Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. We’ll try to examine the new models of everyday life, which change the current consciousness of people. We’ll pay attention to the public contexts and political situations that have impact on creating new identities. The paper will show the changing ethnicities of Lithuanian minorities in global Baltics.

Keyword: Savoniakaite

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