Linas Venclauskas (Vytautas Magnus University)
This paper discusses the development of modern Lithuanian identity in the second half of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, though the focus is on the last twenty years of independence. What we have inherited from the past? Have we modified our concepts of identify through new perspectives, or are we still dealing with the identity that was formed in the mid-twentieth century? Sources for this paper include public discussions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, primarily from newspapers. For understanding concepts of identity over the past twenty years, attention will be given to Lithuanian history textbooks; these help us understand what kind of history is being taught in contemporary Lithuania. Important questions arise: Is Lithuania presented in these textbooks as a nation-state or there are signs of intercultural perspective? Is Lithuania presented as part of a global world, or as a separate country with its own separate past, history and destiny? What symbols and language are used when speaking about Lithuania? Are they civic or national based? Is identity perceived as an unchangeable structure, or can it be deconstructed, reconstructed and changed in answer to new global challenges? To help compare primary narratives and their perception, some survey data of Lithuanian students will be presented as well; this will help us grasp changes in the consciousness of the generation born after 1990, in an already independent Lithuania.