Accepted Paper:

Re-defining markers and re-conceptualisation of the Lithuanianness  

Author:

Jolanta Kuznecoviene (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation will deal with the problem of the changing local/global dimensions of Lithuanian national identity under the conditions of globalization, after the country's accession to the European Union and in particular vis-à-vis nation-wide emigration pattern.

Paper long abstract:

The presentation will deal with the problem of the changing local/global dimensions of Lithuanian identity under the conditions of globalization, after the country's accession to the European Union and in particular vis-à-vis nation-wide emigration pattern.

It is based on findings of the national research project on national identity under conditions of globalization, conducted in 2005-2007 in Lithuania.

The theoretical framework of the report is based on theoretical assumptions which criticize the dichotomy ethnic/civic as providing reliable platform for defining of the markers of national identity. It proposes instead to focus on the description of the dimensions of openness/closeness which could be identified via analysis of the narratives on "we-ness"/ "foreign-ness" and legal possibilities for "becoming local".

Two types of narratives on globalized vs. local (Lithuanian) culture revealed by the research are explored in the paper: narratives that make clean-cut distinction between local/native and global/foreign culture and narratives that vindicate incorporation of global life styles to Lithuanian one. In the narratives of the first type the assessment of cultural phenomena as either local/native or global/foreign was made with the help of elements of Lithuanian ethnic culture as the main criterion. Narratives of the second type are those that "legitimize" the incorporation of global culture and life styles into Lithuanian culture. Two versions of such "legitimizing" narratives were revealed: The first is based on an expanded understanding of the concept of "local". "Local" includes "global", because "global" does not mean "foreign", but just something that exists everywhere. "Global" is understood as global/native or just as native. The second version of the "legitimization" of cultural globalization focuses upon the "Lithuanianization" of ways of consumption by ascribing to them a spiritual, intangible Lithuanianness. The most important criterion now becomes "how" (in a Lithuanian or non-Lithuanian way of doing or consuming something) instead of "what" (is being consumed).

Changing social and cultural experiences and every day life practices of Lithuanian people do change meanings of "we-ness"/ "foreign-ness" which imply re-definition of markers and re-conceptualization of the Lithuanianness. Although 'taken for granted' nation -ness in ethno-nationalist terms remains the main marker of Lithuanianness, positive attitudes and emotions as well as extended loyalty towards the state plays a very important role as well. It reduces the importance of ethnic ties and in-acts the dimensions of closeness and openness onto shaping of the national identity.

Panel W047
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