The Mission of Lithuanian Transmigrants in New York: to Preserve or to Create Lithuanian Identity?

Ieva Kripienė (Vytautas Magnus University)

In the processes of Europenization and globalization, the analyses of Lithuanian identity are the subject of scientific and popular discourse. Debates over the definition of Lithuanian identity question the need for its preservation and one wonders what might be its significance in the contemporary world, with its shifting borders and new forms of various identities.

This presentation is based on the anthropological field work in New York, conducted in the 2008. The author collected data using social qualitative methods, such as open ended interviews, observations and participant observations. Theoretical paradigms of the concepts of transmigrants, identity, organizations and social relations open the way for further empirical data analysis that would focus on such questions as: what is Lithuanian identity? Are Lithuanian transmigrants trying to preserve their ethnic identity? In what ways they do that? Maybe there are new forms of Lithuanian identity?

To answer these questions we will analyze the participation in the various Lithuanian organizations in New York of the Lithuanian transmigrants and their social relations with the locals and relatives and friends in Lithuania. That will lead to the conclusions about the contemporary Lithuanian transmigrant manipulation of the forms of their Lithuanian identity.

Keyword: Kripiene

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