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Citizenship, Europe and ethnic boundary making among Russian minorities in Latvia and Lithuania

Author

Listed:
  • Natalka Patsiurko

    () (Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, AB24 3QY Aberdeen, United Kingdom.)

  • Claire Wallace

    () (Department of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, AB24 3QY Aberdeen, United Kingdom.)

Abstract

This article uses Andreas Wimmer’s model of ethnic boundary making to examine ethnic boundaries among the Russian-speaking minorities in Lithuania and Latvia, two countries with contrasting integration policies. We argue that the exclusive inte-gration policies of Latvia, particularly with regard to citizenship, result in the ‘hardening’ of ethnic boundaries for minorities, while the more inclusive policies in Lithuania lead to boundary ‘softening’. The article examines the influence of national policies, the policies of the Russian government and the European integration as external factors of boundary making, but also considers exogenous factors such as the role of the civil society, sense of identification, and the different experiences of generations. We conclude that whilst endogenous and exogenous factors have shaped ethnic boundaries in different ways in the two countries, these boundaries are blurring because Europe opens up wider possibilities for work and study and younger generations are less likely to be excluded from participation by language or citizenship. In both countries, increasingly hybrid and fluid identities are replacing reified and essentialist ones that are based upon the previous Soviet-style constructs.

Suggested Citation

  • Natalka Patsiurko & Claire Wallace, 2014. "Citizenship, Europe and ethnic boundary making among Russian minorities in Latvia and Lithuania," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 11(2), pages 187-205, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:journl:v:11:y:2014:i:2:p:187-205
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