Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

ENRI-EAST Report Summary

Project ID: 217227
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: Austria

Final Report Summary - ENRI-EAST (Interplay of European, National and Regional Identities: nations between states along the new eastern borders of the European Union)

Executive summary:

The ENRI-EAST study was aimed at a deeper understanding of the ways in which the modern European identities and regional cultures are formed and inter-communicated in the Eastern part of the European continent. The project addresses both macro and micro influences in a broader historical perspective with a strong focus on applying bottom-up processes of identity formation by drawing on actual practices. This enables the detailed exploration of the ways in which European, national, and regional identities are constituted and negotiated through individual and group narratives and practices within an increasingly complex set of institutional arrangements.

Project's research motto is Moving peoples and moving borders. This slogan reflects a highly dynamic social and political landscape of the Eastern Europe. One can observe that in a very short historical perspective, during the last 20 years, new countries have emerged, while other countries changed their geographical outlines (such as Serbia or Germany). On the other hand, the massive migration flows (regardless of their legality or illegality, peaceful or violent historical epochs, political or economic migration reasons) do influence heavily cultural or social infrastructures of both receiving and issuing countries. Altogether, 8-10 million people that belong now to ethnic minorities throughout Eastern Europe have been affected by historically and politically set boundaries.

The ENRI-EAST project aimed at the detailed study of the impacts of these two moving factors on the everyday lives of peoples and their feelings of belongingness or social affiliation. The study was guided by the fundamental rationale of the EU, namely to enlarge the zone of European peace and prosperity in a continuous process, without generating new artificial boundaries. Analysis and interpretation has been conducted with the aim of improving the status quo, identifying and solving problems through the elaboration of viable and realistic recommendations.

Project Context and Objectives:

The project ENRI-EAST: Interplay of European, National and Regional Identities: nations between states along the new eastern borders of the European Union was aimed at a deeper understanding of the ways in which the modern European identities and regional cultures are formed and inter-communicated in the Eastern part of the European continent. We have addressed both macro and micro influences in a broader historical perspective with a strong focus on applying bottom-up processes of identity formation by drawing on actual practices. This enabled us exploring the ways in which European, national, and regional identities are constituted and negotiated through individual and group narratives and practices within an increasingly complex set of institutional arrangements.

Our empirical research focused on the nations states on both sides of the new Eastern border of the European Union. Researched was carried out in the following states: Poland, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, and Germany. The project explored particular cases of nations and ethnic groups that live on both sides of the main political dividing line that now splits the European continent into at least two geo-political parts. One part is constituted by the European Union to the West of this line, while the Eastern part of the continent is composed of countries that formed the Soviet Union and are now conventionally labeled as NIS (Newly Independent States). In this particular geo-political region, one can identify about two dozen divided nations or ethnic groups that have found themselves on both sides of the new geopolitical fence. An estimated 8 to 10 million people, one half of which live in the EU countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, etc.) whereas the other half ? in the former soviet republics (such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia and other countries) are affected by this situation. In certain countries, these ethnic minorities may constitute up to 30% of their total population, as, for instance, Russians in Latvia. An essential commonality among these groups is that they have large parts of the population living outside of the state borders of their ?ethnic home nations.

Such divided nations are the product of moving borders or moving people. By this criteria one can distinguish, for the purpose of our research:

- classic minorities, e.g. those groups who never migrated, but the state borders around them moved many times in the historical past, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries. For instance, Hungarians living now in Western Ukraine; Russians in the Baltic states; or Poles living in Belarus);
- recent migrants, such as Russian Jews or other citizens of the former USSR who have migrated to European countries during the last one or two decades;
- historical migrants, such as Germans who had been migrating to the Russian Empire since the 18th Century and now are returning back to the modern Germany.

In the ENRI-EAST project we have investigated several such split nations regarding their European, national, regional and ethnic identities. Most of the peoples in our empirical research are classic minorities which means that they have never moved but new nation states have evolved and/or new geo-political borders have been drawn which has made them an ethnic minority in the very same location. The research covers 12 ethnic minorities from 8 countries along the new Eastern border of the European Union. Regarding the selection of the ethnic minorities, for each country the largest ethnic minority/minorities have been taken into account:

Additionally, we have investigated two more ethnic minorities: ethnic Germans from CIS countries (who have returned to live in Germany, historical migrants) and Russian Jews in Germany (recent migrants).

The project focuses on the analysis of the social past and present of these selected national or ethnic groups that might be considered as particular examples of ?nations between the states. Due to the multiplicity of social and political contexts of their social existence, we expected these groups to have constructed multiple identities referring to both their mother ethnicity and the surrounding contextual social habits and cultures of their host country. The empirical research in the project followed the following research questions:

- What does it mean to be European, belonging to a nation or region for the specified groups?
- What are the general perceptions of Europe and nations in these countries with respect to the own nationality?
- What are the images of Europe, nations and nation-states like among the specified groups?
- What is the interplay between regional, national and supranational self-identification of these people like in the EU-CIS borderlands?
- What are the practices, narratives and discourses concerning compatibility and incompatibility of identities under the condition of belonging to a minority in these countries?
- Under what conditions do strong national identities prevail on the one hand and when do people claim more particular (regional) or universal (European, cosmopolitan) identities?
- How are identities constructed in order to fulfill a possible need of differentiation between Europe, the nation and the region?
? How do identities of members of the same national background compare across borders and national groups?
? What are the ways in which identities are articulated and reproduced in the private (e.g. family) and public domains?


In order to answer the research questions, to follow both macro and micro levels and to consider our bottom-up approach, we have developed the following research design:

- Theoretical state-of-the-art research
- Historical state of the art desktop research
- Collection of surveys
- Quantitative data collection and analysis: ENRI-VIS
- Qualitative data collection and analysis: ENRI-BIO (Biographical interviews with members of three different generations)
- Qualitative data collection and analysis: ENRI-EXI (Expert interviews)
- Pilot study with quantitative and qualitative elements on ?cultural identities and music?: ENRI-MUSIC; carried out in Hungary and Lithuania
- Online data collection and content analysis of weblogs and online periodicals run or maintained by ethnic minority groups: ENRI-BLOG

The methodological toolbox developed for the specific requirements of the region and the minorities under study consists of an interlocking smart mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. Since the major objective of the study was to generate comparative data, the key component was a large-scale formalized survey dubbed ENRI Values and Identities Survey? (ENRI-VIS), which also serves as a common point of reference for all other data sets produced by other methods.

After defining which ethnic minority groups in which countries we were going to research, we set up rules for the sample size of the set of national samples for the quantitative survey. Every ethnic minority is considered a separate sample with either 400 or 800 minorities. The sample size depends on the size of the researched ethnic minority group in absolute numbers and on the proportion within the whole national population. The information of the size of the researched minority group was based on national statistics. As a result, we defined the sample size as 800 for seven ethnic minority groups (Russians in Latvia, Russians in Lithuania, Poles in Lithuania, Hungarians in Ukraine, Poles in Ukraine, Poles in Belarus and Hungarians in Slovakia) and the sample size as 400 for four ethnic minority groups (Belarusians in Poland, Ukrainians in Poland, Slovaks in Hungary, Lithuanians in Russia/Kaliningrad region).

For the proportion of the ethnic minority group within the whole population we refer to as the ethnic density of a minority group. The ethnic density for each settlement or at least each district was calculated based on national statistical data. Basically we used LAU1 data for EU countries and data on a district or province level for CIS countries. The goal was to gain a systematic representation of at least 75% of each researched ethnic minority group. Depending on the size of each minority group's ethnic density, we applied different sampling methods. For locations (settlement or district) where the ethnic density was 30% or higher we used systematic random route sampling (RRS), for locations where the ethnic density was between 10% and 30% we applied random route sampling boosted with focused enumeration (RRFE), and for locations where the density was less than 10%, we had to collect data following the principle of snowballing with several pre-defined starting points (such as ethnic minority organizations).

Data collection took place in winter 2009/2010 and the interviews were carried out face-to-face by professional in-country sociological agencies. In order to be an eligible respondent, the approached persons had to fulfill three formal criteria: to be 18 years or older, to have been living in the country for at least 12 months and to identify themselves as members of the particular ethnic minority group. The interviews were carried out in the preferred language of the respondent (either in the language of the host country or in the language of the ethnic home country).

In order to ensure high data quality, internal peer-reviewed data control was applied. After all data have been cleaned and homogenized, the full, unified data set consists of 6,800 respondents and covered 12 ethnic minorities in 8 countries.

Many questions in our questionnaire are compatible with several major international surveys .

The questionnaire covers the following broad topics: (a) General information about the respondent; (b) Ethno-national perceptions, practices, networking; (c) Social and political attitudes and practices.

For all researched ethnic minority groups we have also applied the qualitative methods of biographical interviews (Roberts, 2002; Chamberlaine, Bornat, and Wengraf 2000) and expert interviews (Meuser and Nagel, 2010; Bogner, Littig, and Menz 2005). For each minority group 12 biographical interviews (ENIR-BIO) were conducted; in total we collected 144 interviews. The interviews were carried out in the languages of preference and lasted about 1.5 hours on average. Again we have applied internal quality control to ensure high data quality. The sampling frame for the biographical interviews included gender and age, and regarding age we were approaching three generations:

- the young generation who were born and brought up in the post-communist era (16 to 22 years old),
- the middle generation who experienced the transition and are older enough to be the parents of the younger generation (35 to 50 years old),
- and the older generation who would have experienced the Second World War (65 years and older).

The expert interviews (ENRI-EXI) did not only cover the 12 ethnic minorities as described above but also included Germany as special case. In Germany, the two minority groups of ethnic Germans and Jewish quota refugees, both having emigrated mainly from CIS countries, have been researched. In total, 42 expert interviews were carried out; two to four interviews per ethnic minority group. Out of these, one to two interviews were carried out with governmental or non-governmental representatives of ethnic minority groups (from the national or regional level), and one to two interviews with ethnic minority organizations (political, cultural, religious organizations).

For the online content analysis (ENRI-BLOG) four types of sources have been collected:
- Online periodicals issued by representatives of ethnic minority groups
- Websites of political, cultural, religious organizations of ethnic minority groups
- Websites of broadcasting services of ethnic minority groups
- personal and non-personal blogs, live journals, discussion forums

Finally, a pilot study on music and identity (ENRI-MUSIC) was conducted in Lithuania and Hungary, applying another range of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Project Results:

MAIN SCIENTIFIC RESULTS AND FOREGROUNDS

THEORIES OF IDENTITIES - MAJOR TRENDS AND BEYOND

The Making of Identities in Eastern European Border Regions: Theoretical Frameworks of the Study

National divides are among the most strongly felt across our world (Epstein, 2007). Nonetheless, the nation-state is a very successful form of human political and social organization, albeit its pure form, i.e. where one nation maintains its own state, remains an illusion. The number of ethnic minorities is considerable in almost every country in the world. This renders the idea of the nation-state and its actual consequences problematic for smaller or larger parts of the population. This is particularly true for Eastern European countries. For instance, the Russian minorities in the Baltic States (especially in Estonia and Latvia) compose a third of the respective country's total population. Most notably, these minorities contribute significantly to the multination character of what is usually considered the ?nation-state? of, for instance, Estonia, Poland or Belarus.

A relevant political and social issue then is what the relationship between the majority national group and the minority (and ethnic groups respectively) is like. Here, various propositions are presented in the literature. They range from illiberal discriminatory practices to perspectives based on the mutual recognition of difference, equal rights and opportunities and, generally, equality with specific acknowledgment of the minority identity. Whereas relationships characterised by discrimination of the minority group are usually dismissed in the Western world, a lively debate emerged around the issues of (minority) nationalism, liberalism, multiculturalism, and, most recently, cosmopolitanism.

In the literature on liberal nationalism, we mainly find references to language and history as markers of national (minority) identity. The study of the meanings of national identities is therefore of great importance. What particular characteristics of the minority nation make it a worthwhile project to maintain national identity? What is so particular about national language, history, culture and values that should be secured in one or the other way? And what are the differences in national identity compared to other ones, especially the majority nation?

Studying identities in this way is especially relevant for national minorities in the border regions between Europe and Russia. Here, various and competing identity claims coincide to a particularly strong extent. Theoretically speaking, we can easily distinguish between ethnic, regional, national (referring to the majority/and or minority nation) and greater identities, such as a European one, a Russian one, a Slavonic one in some cases and so on. But how do they concur? What is their particular content and meaning? What is the relationship between them?

Identity: Regional - National – European

The concept of identity has a strong foothold in psychological (Erikson, 1994 [1959]), social-psychological (e.g. Tajfel, 1982) and sociological studies (see, for instance, Giddens, 1991; Jenkins, 1996). In the latter tradition, Anderson (1991), Gellner (1983) and Smith (1986, 2008) are arguably among the most prominent scholars researching one particular form national identity. Whereas psychology highlights the importance of identity in the development of personality, scholars in the social-psychological tradition elaborate on in-group and out-group mechanisms in social relationships between members of various groups. Sociologists are mainly occupied with collective identities the collective dimension of identities of individuals. These are social because they are constituted in part by socially transmitted conceptions of how a person of that identity properly behaves (Appiah, 2005: 21) and most often refer to particular features of people. In creating labels for certain (groups of) people, specific ideas develop about the people who fit these labels. In turn, this then shapes the ways people conceive of themselves and others: labels operate to mould what we may call identification, the process through which individuals shape their projects [?] by reference to available labels, available identities (Appiah, 2005: 66)

National Identity

Nationalism offers a perspective on identity, which is heavily characterised by this sense of (subjective) belonging to a distinct group based on shared features such as language and history. The national community is thereby seen as the ultimate warrant of individual autonomy. Members of such communities are offered some sort of guidelines for the full spectrum of social interactions: their national identity provides a script a narrative useful for their life plans. The national culture provides a framework of reference for everyday actions, i.e. through cultural membership people make sense of the world (Tamir, 1993). It is in this respect that cultural membership (attachment to the group, feelings of belonging, self-views as a member) as expressed in national identity epitomizes individual freedom. More important, national identity arguably structures life to a particular extent and enables people, as identities do in general, to ?fit [their] life story into certain patterns [?] and [they] also fit that story into larger stories; for example, of a people (Appiah, 2005: 68). This, in turn, presents an explanation of the value of strength of national identities and their ubiquity.

Regional and Supranational Identity

Notwithstanding the crucial role of national identity, as a collective identity it will only remain one among others individuals and groups can make use of with a view to their manifold purposes. Here, we want to talk about two other forms of territorially based identities. We will briefly discuss regional identities and comment on identities which go beyond the ethnic/national community. In the latter sense, we will engage with supranational European identity and Great Russia-identity which are of specific interest for this study.

Regional identities can be considered as a more local form of identification, with an emphasis on the locality and region, e.g. a neighborhood identity in a city, an urban identity in a county, and a county identity in a state. What seems apparent is the nested character of a regional/local identity. It exists within the boundaries of a bigger whole. Thus, regional identities are often found in large and federal states, where they make claims to specific local contexts.

European Identity

The notion of a European identity encapsulates cultural and political meanings. A cultural European identity, some commentators believe, rests on a common historical-cultural memory and heritage of Europeans (for instance, Eder, 2004; Llobera, 2003). These are supposed to result from historical processes and be more or less directly derived from the common experiences of Greek-Roman ancient civilization, Christianity, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, industrialization and Modernity. According to this image, contemporary Europe has reached an agreement on basic elements of cultures such as religion, shared values or political, social and economic beliefs. Here, we clearly notice that the notion of European culture is still under construction. Whereas the existing of national cultures is often taken for granted when claims about national identities are made (Appiah, 2005), European identity based on cultural elements is fiercely contested.

-Russian Identity-Neo-Soviet Identity

Before 1917, a common Russia? identity might only have existed among the intelligentsia though Smith (2008) discerns outlines of a Russian nation much earlier in history. Whilst this amounted to Orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality (Szporluk, 1998: 306), anti-Russian sentiments were formulated in the revolutionary cause in opposition to the rather empire-encompassing scope of Russian identity. In the 20th century, Russian identity has experiences ups and downs. The Russian Soviet Republic was designed as the diffuse territorial left-over once non-Russian nationalities have established their Soviet Republics (cf. Brubaker, 1996: 48-51). At first, a Russian national project was dismissed as a remnant from tsarist or capitalist ideology by Lenin and Stalin. Only later Russian culture and institutions recovered from this oppression. Socialism, universalism, and the Russian language were celebrated as Russian virtues when building the Soviet people, though this was rather a supranational than national project (Brubaker, 1996: 28) in the 1930s. However, Szporluk reminds us to consider the possibility of treating communism as a kind of nationalism (1998: 303).

Cosmopolitan Identity

In recent years, the concept of cosmopolitanism broke into the discourse about nationalism and national identity and how it relates to pluralism, diversity, transnationalism, shifting commitments and so on (for instance, Appiah, 2006; Beck, 2007; Fine, 2007; Vertovec and Cohen, 2002). Though a cosmopolitan identity most likely would not establish another territory-based i.e. global identity, it is argued that it rather alters existing identities such as national and European ones in particular ways (cf. Delanty, 2002). What is this new talk about cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitanisation (Beck, 2006) then all about? And what distinguishes cosmopolitanism from other approaches to identities such as pluralism or universalism (cf. Pichler, forthcoming)? In the remainder of this paper, we turn to these questions and try to give answers relevant for the analysis of EU border identities in Eastern Europe and beyond.

Discussion

The previous sections have clearly shown that identity formation is not a straightforward process. Notwithstanding the many different interest groups (ethnic, national) involved in the making of identities, we must also pay tribute to the difficult context in which identities are negotiated in Europe at the moment. In the global age, national, regional and supranational identities are likely to borrow from each other; they could sometimes contradict each other, whilst occasionally they might hardly be separated from each other. What are the preconditions that an identity takes a particular form and aspires to a particular nature, for instance a cosmopolitan nationalism (Eckersley, 2007; Nielson, 2003)? Bearing with Brubaker (1996), we must also consider the interplay of these various identities and nationalisms, and especially so in Eastern Europe.

We have seen that these issues of identity can be approached from various angles. Liberalism, nationalism, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and many other ideas and/or ideologies offer somewhat different solutions, however, within a clearly liberal frame of references. That is, we have secluded our approaches from illiberal ones. The most important questions we want to ask concern the relationship between various national (ethnic) groups in liberal (or liberalizing) democracies in Eastern Europe. How can, following Appiah (2005), various and competing identity claims be brought together without challenging individual autonomy and group rights? And what limitations do we have to consider when assessing identity claims of various groups in opposition to each other? This is a great challenge for European societies, and there might be many attempts to find solutions across the continent. On top of that, we believe that we can learn additional lessons if we compare these more liberal contexts to other ones. What are these identities, their nature, strategies and discourses like in less liberal countries such as, arguably, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine?

Here, we have more clearly separated strength and stability of boundaries from their other characteristics. This reflects on strengths of feelings of belonging, attachment, loyalty and identification. Although Wimmer considers the stability of boundaries as an outcome of their nature, we have closed the circular boundary/national group making process by presenting it as a fourth important component, which is itself most significantly shaped by other characteristics of the boundary. The demarcation between the micro and the macro level is deliberately not presented as a straight line to highlight the multilevel character of Wimmer's (2008) agreeable theoretical approach. Finally, the framework emphasises the contextual embeddedness of these processes. To our mind, this means that we must be highly alert of context-specifics in the empirical assessment of national and other identities.

Whereas this theory might have the most appeal to the analysis of national identities, we can also think of ways how to relate it to the making of sub-national (regional) or supra-national (European, Great Russian, Slavonic) identities. Here, we will also be interested in the processes of identity formation and making at various levels and by various actors. The basic rules and procedures also apply here, but we might encounter more difficulties in defining the nature of boundaries, more dissent about strategies, and the rather concealed processes in the field of boundary making. Nonetheless, it might be of crucial relevance to discuss these issues with a view to various competing identity claims at all levels in order to satisfy our ambitions concerning the study of identities in Eastern European border regions.

Further aspects of theoretical considerations related to the studies of the interplay of national and regional identities are summarized in several working papers produced by project's experts Dr. Florian Paichler, Dr. Ivailo Vassiliev and Dr. Timofei Agarin. These will be published shortly in a thematic volume Theoretical and methodological backgrounds for the studies of European, national and regional identities of ethnic minorities in European borderlands (see http://www.enri-east.net/project-results/en/ online)

CONSTRUCTING EMPIRICAL BASE FOR THE STUDY

General frameworks of the empirical study

Research on identities in Europe has established considerable knowledge about different kinds and relationships between various forms of belonging in modern European societies. However, this body of research is often biased in various ways. First, research on contemporary identities in Europe in general and European identity in particular tends to be normative in the sense that the conceptualisation of what European identity is like is blended with wishful thinking of what Europe should be. Second, there is an overemphasis on theoretical constructs and top-down perspectives as opposed to empirically informed accounts of actual practices, attitudes and perceptions. Third, descriptions and classifications take precedence over in-depth analysis and explanations of the complexities of the processes involved. Fourth, empirical research and generalisations tend to focus on Western Europe with little or no discussion of East European societies.

A useful vantage point to explore the complex embedded nature of European identities is looking at the restructuring of the nation-state. It could be argued that while in the beginning of the 20th century nation building and national reproduction needed the protection of the state and conversely, the state needed the nation in order to legitimise and reproduce itself. This is no longer the case. First, the resources necessary for the reproduction of national identities, due to changes in technology and the growing significance of non-state institutions, are increasingly located outside state borders. In addition, within an environment where there is a pluralisation of identities, both within and beyond the borders of the nation-state as well as the growing significance of cosmopolitan identities, the nation state is no longer able to offer stable, coherent and authoritative definitions of the nation.

Secondly, states are increasingly legitimising themselves in a much narrower way by rearranging their broad social responsibilities that were typical for the classical nation-state. This restructuring of the relationship between state and society is often associated with a general trend of a growing dominance of economics over politics, which is exacerbated by the impact of neo-liberal views. Some authors have argued that neo-liberal interpretations of the economy are increasingly influential in broader social restructuring leading towards the creation of a market society. In many European states this has entailed a dramatic decrease in welfare provisions while in others this has been associated with much more nuanced policies. The latter argument is well captured in what Jessop (2002) sees as the transition from a Keynesian Welfare National State towards a Schumpeterian Workfare post-national Regimes.

Thirdly, it can also be argued that we are also witnessing the destabilisation of the previously dominant position of national identities within the classical nation-state. One possible explanation of this fact can be found in the vast literature on modernisation, reflexivity and the changing character of risk in modern society (Beck 1992). More specifically, these changes can be associated with the growing significance of non-state institutions at the sub-national, supra-national and the global levels where they have challenged the primacy of attachment to the nation.

Objects of study (regions, countries, ethnic groups, minorities etc.)

To start with, we must first identify and clearly define the objects of our study. Logically, there would be a hierarchy of such objects.

The meta-level object is the Eastern area of the new European borderland.

First operational level objects would be the four smaller regions of the above area, namely:

Baltic Region, Eastern Europe and Central Eastern Europe.

The next analytical level must be represented by individual countries and ethnic groups.

Country

Definition of a country is relatively simple and obvious. The only important remark would be the one of historical nature (a temporal rule). Namely, we consider individual countries in their political and geographical shapes as of now (=2008).


A simple observation shows that the last political change is formally dated as of 2001-2004 (the formal extension of the European Union, when a few countries became first candidates and then full EU members.) Thus, the political status of some countries has changed during the last decade.

As to the formal geographical shape (moved borders), the last changes took place in 1989-1991. Main changes were the reunification of Germany (elimination of an inter-state border) and the transformation of several internal politically-administrative borders between the former USSR republics (no border control) into the fully international political borders (full border control).

Ethnic group

Definition of an ethnic group is much more complicated. First, such groups may vary in their size and, therefore in their political weights.

A working definition of an ethnic group used in the project is as follows:

Ethnic group - a set of people with a common culture, who as a rule speak a common language and are conscious of their identity and their difference from other groups.

An ethnic group may consist of three parts:

a) ethnic core (basic component, which lives compactly on a specific territory),
b) ethnic periphery (compact subgroup, which is separated from the core group, e.g. Russians in the Crimea or in Kazakhstan or in East Estonia) and
c) ethnic diaspora (a separated subgroup, which lives on the territory of another titular nation).

A few particular implications could be derived from this definition.

Thus, an ethnic group is distinguished by subjective and objective criteria, Subjective criteria of an ethnic identity could be generally revealed from inside (for instance, in the course of an interview), while objective criteria should be known and applied from outside. In the later case, a researcher should know some preliminary information about a group in advance.

Furthermore, we must be aware that the phenomenon of ethnicity (ethnic self-identification) is always a complex thing, just as any other social phenomena. This is an ideal (or pure) type in Weberian sense. In reality, people would always maintain a multiple identity, or a mix of several ethnic (national) identities, combined with some geographical (regional and local) identities, as well as cultural and professional identities, etc.

Even if we limit our considerations only to the ethno-national aspects, we must assume that the same ethnicity would have different intensity in different groups. Thus, one can hypothesize that an ethnic Russian living in a village in a central province of the European part of Russia would be more Russian (let's take him or her as a 100% Russian), then another ethnic Russian living in a Ukrainian capital Kyuiv would possibly be an 75% Russian. In the latter case the remaining 25% would go for a certain degree of Ukrainianess (wide use of Ukrainian language, involvement in Ukrainian political live, understanding of Ukrainian culture etc.) Similarly, an ethnic Ukrainian living in the Eastern province of the country, working in an industry that cooperates predominantly with Russia and, on top of that, graduated from a Russian University and married with a Russian women, would hardly maintain more that 50% of its original Ukrainian social ethnicity.

The above considerations would be of critical importance for the correct interpretation groups holding the same ethnic names (say, Russians or Hungarians), but living in the locations different to their real or hypothetic ethnic motherlands (say, both of these ethnic groups in Ukraine).

Furthermore, using the above ethnic weights (or ethnic percentage) would allow to apply mathematical procedures of the analysis of fuzzy sets (gradual membership in a set) for quantitative analysis.

Practical implication: As a primary attempt, we have developed a model that can be applied for the reconstruction of a set of national samples for the big quantitative survey, assuming that all 18 dyads are included.

MAJOR EMPIRICAL RESULTS AND OBSERVATIONS

Identity and its main components

Ethnicity is one of many salient characteristics individuals or groups use to describe their self or are used by others to position them within the social order (ascription). Members of ethnic minority groups in the ENRI region are well aware of their ethnic identity, but, generally speaking, the relative importance of this type of identity is decreasing among the studied minority groups in CEE region over the generations and substituted by others, like profession or gender.

Vehicular languages of ethnic minorities in the CEE region

Russian minorities in the Baltic states and Hungarians in Ukraine and Slovakia appear to be most adamant to use their own mother tongue as far as this is possible in every-day interactions. Lithuanians in Kaliningrad region, and Poles in Ukraine use the language of the host country most frequently, closely followed by the Slovaks in Hungary. The latter minorities can therefore be called the most adaptive ethnic groups, the former the most self-assertive.

Ethno-national distinction versus adaptation

Nevertheless, the adherence to the native ethnic language does not translate into a feeling of being closer to the kin country (a country of factual or historical ethnic origin). On the contrary, with the exception of Hungarians in Ukraine and Slovakia, all minorities are much more at home in their host countries than in their countries of ethnic origin. They are more interested in home affairs than in events in their kin country. Younger generations become estranged from their kin group abroad. Needless to say, they regard themselves loyal citizens of their host countries.

Perceived ethno-national tensions and experienced discrimination

The ENRI-VIS data reveal that among all types of social tensions that one can observe in any society, the most disturbing factors are the classical types of social anxiety, such as strains between poor and rich people (a general stress factor for up to 80% of the respondents) or between older and younger generations (up 68% on average). However, the ethno-national types of tensions have been reported by almost every second respondent in the whole sample. Regarding the tensions between respondents own ethnic groups and the majority of country population, on average 9% of respondents reports a lot of tension and 37% some tensions; these values vary considerably from country to country in the ENRI sample.

Reports of Poles and Russians in Lithuania, Russians in Latvia, Hungarians in Ukraine and Slovakia as well as Ukrainians in Poland on tensions between their ethnic groups and the majority of the population are above the average values in the ENRI sample.

Attitudes toward Europe and the European Union

The general image of the European Union among the ENRI respondents is generally positive or neutral and it is somewhat more positive among the ethnic minority respondents from non-EU courtiers. Nevertheless, for most minority members, Europe and the EU provide no emotional point of reference. For some, like the Hungarians in Ukraine, the EU is a potential moral and financial support partner. Most minority members in the new EU member states have mixed feelings about the Union. Some respondents mention the protection from globalization that small member states receive from the big community.

Institutional trust, political participation and civil society

ENRI-VIS data on the distribution of trust in institutions of the respondents' home (host) countries reveal a quite diversified pattern. One can observe two distinct groups of countries: The institutions in Belarus, Poland and Russia are trusted by representatives of the minorities under study well above the average values in the sample. In contrast, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine appear as countries with the least trusted institutions in the eyes of the ethnic groups in the sample.

A possible explanation for this pattern is the higher or lesser stability of political regimes in these countries and the degree of general social and economic satisfaction of population, as well as the levels of political freedoms and civil security. Thus, the political regimes in Belarus, Poland and Russia have been quite stable during the last post-transition decade (no general revolutions or major political clashes) and the level of economic prosperity in these countries was growing steadily. At the same time, Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia have experienced significant political turbulences during this time and the population is suffering considerably from the depriving economic situation.

Collective ethno-national identities: historical memories, feelings of pride, trust in people and cross-border networking.

Collective historical memory is a precondition for group identity. Living memory tends to be substituted by myths if it is repressed or dissolved in a dominant national narrative. Tacit, non-recognized narratives and myths can leap over into a perception of being discriminated, harassed or in other ways disrespected, as the example of Ukrainians in Poland shows, where no ethnic group concerned has come to terms with the common violent past and there are still unresolved redistribution issues such as entitlements to land, etc.

Pride in one's own ethnic group is strongest with Hungarians in Ukraine, Poles in Ukraine and Poles in Lithuania and weakest with Slovaks in Hungary as well as Lithuanians in the Kaliningrad region. Russians in Lithuania and Latvia, although they share with Poles and Hungarians the historical role of a ruling nation in multinational empires, express no pride in the history of their own ethnic group. Only very small percentages of Belarusians in Poland, of Poles in Belarus and of Russians in Lithuania assess their Soviet past as positive.

PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS

General remarks

Overall, ENRI confirms the finding that a tolerant political and social environment promotes integration processes which preserve cultural and ethnic identities, while discrimination and political pressure generates defiant nationalism as a response.

Members of studied ethnic minorities:

- demonstrate clearly multi-faceted types of identity (a highly pragmatic mix of a variety of available cultural and social assets);
- they are mostly attached to the areas where they have been born and educated;
- are loyal citizens-cum-patriots-cum-Europeans.

EU (Europe) is popular as an ideal and a model to emulate with regard to peaceful and respectful approach to resolve possible inter-cultural and social conflicts and the European Union in general as well as individual national and regional governments have the responsibility to moderate in complex ethno-political conflicts involving minorities, titular nations and sending nations;

Inter-ethnic conflicts and tensions can be resolved most efficiently, if their individual components are properly addressed (cultural heritage, languages, social justice) and the socio-economic environment in general is favorable;

Targeted support should be extended to interethnic, trans-cultural and cross-border actions. This may range from PR support for such action to support for member states (or Eastern Partnership states) for granting tax breaks or extending beneficial loan schemes to interethnic start-ups.

The Interplay of Identities, cultures and politics

The empirical data generated by ENRI corroborate findings and observations made in the framework of previous studies and represent a snapshot which permits to draw conclusions about the evolution of identities and identity construction in the region under study. Our data show the enormous importance of such everyday practices as language use, information retrieval and communication, and the patterns of social contacts for the reproduction and evolution of identities. A tolerant political and social environment promotes assimilation processes, discrimination and political pressure generates defiant nationalism as a response. The minorities in the ENRI region are well aware of their ethnic identity, but, generally speaking, the relative importance of this type of identity is decreasing and substituted by others, like profession or gender. This process can be precisely traced over the generations. The Eastern borderlands of the EU are a specific region where distant and recent politics characterized by conflicts between superpowers have created numerous ethnic enclaves in the states existing today. Consequently, ethnic identity is strongest in those states where the minorities were (or are) under political pressure. In the first line, this relates to Russians in Latvia and Lithuania, and to Hungarians in Ukraine and Slovakia. Together with the Poles in Lithuania, these minorities share the feeling that they have lost their former status as a ruling nation. For minorities which report little or no political pressure, culture, not politics, becomes the main repository of identity and the major focal point where ethnic awareness is kept alive. Particularly for minorities in Poland with its strong presence of the Catholic Church, this role is played by the minority churches. Close-knit groups like the Slovaks in Hungary, the Poles in Ukraine or the Belarusians in Poland have the strongest local identity and the strongest links to the local community.

Nations between the states

Russian minorities in the Baltic states and Hungarians in Ukraine and Slovakia appear to be most adamant to use their own mother tongue as far as this is possible in every-day interactions. Lithuanians in Kaliningrad region and Poles in Ukraine use the language of the host country most frequently, closely followed by the Slovaks in Hungary. The latter minorities can therefore be called the most adaptive ethnic groups, the former the most self-assertive. Nevertheless, this does not translate into a feeling to be closer to the kin country. On the contrary, with the exception of Hungarians in Ukraine, all minorities are much more at home in their host countries than in their countries of ethnic origin. Younger generations become estranged from their kin group abroad. Needless to say, they regard themselves loyal citizens of their host countries. This is despite reported cases of discrimination on ethnic grounds as well as perceived ethnic tensions: Close to 50% of minority members experience some or a lot of tensions between the majority population and minority members and a little over 10% of all respondents have reported harassment or discrimination on ethnic grounds during the preceding year. This, however, varies greatly over the individual minorities. Hungarians in Ukraine and Slovakia, Poles and Russians in Lithuania report ethnic tensions in their host countries. Lithuanians in Kaliningrad, Belarusians in Lithuania and Poles in Belarus experience no tensions between ethnic groups. Complaints about discrimination and harassment are most frequent by Hungarians in Ukraine, followed by Ukrainians in Poland, Russians in Latvia and Hungarians in Slovakia. The inclination to migrate is relatively low: 35% of Russians in Latvia and Lithuania consider emigration, in case they would find appropriate conditions in the target countries (for around 30% of potential migrants, Russia). For comparison, 15% of Hungarians in Ukraine and less than 3%.of Slovaks in Hungary consider (e-)migration.

For most minority members, Europe and the EU provides no emotional hub. For some, like the Hungarians in Ukraine, it is a potential moral and financial support partner. Most minority members in the new EU member states have mixed feelings about the Union: On the one hand, it is blamed for such social ills as drug trafficking and for aggressive and greedy business practices, but open borders and increased opportunities for education are welcomed in a pragmatic way. Some respondents mention the protection from globalization that small member states receive from the big community.

Self-organization and representation of ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe

ENRI-VIS data on the distribution of trust show a persistent pattern over the minorities. Hungarians in Ukraine and Slovakia, Poles in Lithuania and Russians in Latvia and Lithuania are the most cautious nations in dealing with people in general. This picture is reproduced in the low trust of these populations toward members of their own ethnic group, toward people of their home country as well as those from their kin country. When it comes to trust toward specific host country institutions (police, media, government, etc.), the usual suspects are joined by the Poles in Ukraine. Low trust in political institutions translates into low interest in politics. Nevertheless, the level of political participation is surprisingly high and comparable to European democracies (participation in national elections close to 70%). The dominant form of self-organization is to set up cultural NGOs. Churches and religious organizations are centers of community life, particularly in the CIS countries under study and with Ukrainians in Poland. With the notable exception of Hungarians in Ukraine, membership in political parties has remained limited (around 3% on average). Overall, the most vibrant civil societies among the minorities can be found with Hungarians in Ukraine and Poles in Ukraine.

Cross-border networking is most intensive with Hungarians in Ukraine. Belarusians in Poland and Slovaks in Hungary have the fewest regular contacts with relatives, friends or others in the kin country.

Historical path and collective memories of ethnic minorities in CEE

Collective historical memory is a precondition for group identity. Living memory tends to be substituted by myths if it is repressed or dissolved in a dominant national narrative. Tacit, non-recognized narratives and myths can leap over into a perception of being discriminated, harassed or in other ways disrespected, as the example of Ukrainians in Poland shows, where no ethnic group concerned has come to terms with the common violent past and there are still unresolved redistribution issues such as entitlements to land, etc.

Ethnic pride can be used as indicator of identification with the historical legacy of one´s own nation. Pride in one's own ethnic group is strongest with Hungarians in Ukraine, Poles in Ukraine and Poles in Lithuania and weakest with Slovaks in Hungary as well as Lithuanians in the Kaliningrad region. Russians in Lithuania and Latvia, although they share with Poles and Hungarians the historical role of a ruling nation in multinational empires, express no pride in the history of their own ethnic group. This finding is complemented by the results of the ENRI web analysis, according to which Stalinist rule is experienced very negatively by factually all minorities. Only very small percentages of Belarusians in Poland, of Poles in Belarus and of Russians in Lithuania assess their Soviet past as positive.

Potential Impact:

MAJOR PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY (potential impact)

Policy Implications

A number of policy recommendations are suggested by our data and findings:

Minority issues are complex issues with political, economic, social and cultural components which cut across administrative and legal boundaries and jurisdictions. In both the EU and its neighbourhood, minority policies have ceased to be a purely national prerogative, but have become an issue of international concern, monitoring, supervision and regulation. The cooperation between national institutions (local administrations, legislative bodies, governments), civil society and international organizations is the key for a deepened integration of ethnic minorities into the body politics and the society of the host countries. On top of that, they involve several political players with specific and often different political agendas, namely the host country, the kin (sending) country, the EU and other pan-European international organizations such as the Council of Europe. It goes without saying that all policies and actions in this field must be carried out on the basis of European values. What this implies in terms of effects for the minorities, the populations of the host and the kin states must be clearly defined and communicated. For example, affirmative action programs (positive discrimination of ethnic minorities) should be limited in time and range as well as justified so as not to contradict the principle of fairness and reciprocity. Policies aiming at a higher degree of integration must have a sufficient level of complexity in that all measures must be orientated toward the paramount political objective of integration without the loss of identity. EU policies must be multilateral and involve the ethnic kin (sending) states in a coordinated way.

Practical implications for civil society organizations

Attempts at creating concerted ethno-national narratives have failed in the past or have not been undertaken. As the interaction among the local ENRI teams have demonstrated, significant scientific consensus can be achieved despite the sometimes staggering differences in the official historical and political narratives. The elaboration of consented historiographical and political narratives by mixed teams of historians, sociologists and political scientists should be promoted and supported.

Information policy: The struggle against prejudices calls for smart solutions. The moral condemnation of the pernicious consequences of nationalism and radicalism is unconvincing and does not change beliefs developed and held as a result of perceived discrimination. On the other hand, stereotypes have, as a rule, negative and positive components. The latter are a point of departure for information campaigning.

Practical implications for governmental bodies and officials at local, regional, national and international levels

Inside the EU itself as well as among international organizations and NGOs, there must be a higher degree of coordination among the various bodies dealing with minority issues in one way or another (The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the commissioners for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Development, Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Regional Policy, as well as the relevant GDs, etc.), the OSCE, the Council of Europe. Minority policies as a cross-cutting issue are an inevitable component of regional development policies (especially in case of compact settlement of minorities), investment and fiscal policy as well as business decisions concerning areas inhabited by minorities. When it comes to necessary program funding from government or international institutions, cash-strapped budgets are apt to increase the inclination for coordinated action.

Efforts should therefore concentrate on the young generation which is more receptive to European liberal values. This is particularly important in the hot spots identified by ENRI-EAST, namely the Baltics, Slovakia and Ukraine. Youth in these countries is literally waiting to be picked up by European cultural, political and business institutions. An investment into student mobility, from high school to universities can improve the attitude towards the EU. The image of the EU as an opportunity space has remained unaffected by the financial and the debt crises.

An attempt should be made to involve the governments in the kin countries, civil society, organizations such as the World Union of Hungarians and the media to stimulate the Europeanness instead of the exclusive ethnic affiliation of young minority members.

The biographical interviews revealed some practical insight into notions of both pan-European and intra-country social cohesion, which, at the policy level is particularly relevant to the EU's mandate on social cohesion. These findings were a product of the micro-level/bottom up approach in that they arose from semi-structured biographical conversations and could not be ascertained from macro-level surveys or purely quantitative analysis. Nonetheless, the findings from the bottom-up approach implications can certainly be applied to a much larger context and analysed at a greater scale.

This issue of ethnic minority media should be examined further at the European policy level in order to explore the ways in which expanding pan-regional media broadcasting can act as a source of information and education for the variety of ethnic groups residing in Central and Eastern Europe. In turn, the widening of a shared media pool can be used to engender a greater sense of shared heritage, awareness of current affairs and overall social cohesion between neighboring nations and ethnic groups.

The importance of this trans-cultural media consumption is linked to language in which the media is consumed: policymakers should explore the effects of education of European languages as a further tool of social cohesions. What the biographical interviews of ethnic minorities in both Hungary and Slovakia revealed was that those respondents who were bilingual in both the ethnic minority and minority languages could engage to a greater extent with the different media sources, and were thus less socially prejudiced towards/shared greater collective interests with different ethnic groups living within the same country.

OVERVIEW OF MAIN DISSEMINATION MEASURES AND TOOLS

Target Groups (stakeholders)

Dissemination and exploitation of project results constitute an important cluster of activities of the project and beyond. Therefore, the wider audience of practitioners, representatives of the policy and legislative communities as well as representatives of the civil society and the academic sphere is and will be informed about the project. Key information about the design, scope, results and findings of the project is distributed to these thematic stakeholders via a variety of tools.

The following target groups for the dissemination are:

- Academic communities (researchers, university teachers, consultants, etc.)
- Governmental officials dealing with minority, migration and integration issues in Eastern Europe and on national, international, regional and local (municipal) levels
- Leaders and experts of NGOs who are active in this sector in these regions.

Major dissemination tools

The main dissemination and discussion tools employed in the project are:

-Web-site (see http://www.enri-east.net online) contains easy accessible information about the project design and the consortium as well as links to publications and results, a thematic library and detailed information about conferences and presentations to download. The project website will be still available at least five years after the official end of the project. However there will be no updates. The full version is provided in English, limited versions are provided in Russian and German.

-Two Project leaflets inform briefly about the project, its main achievements and events (the first issue was provided in English, Russian and German; the second issue was provided in English).
- Project Newsletters (three issues) containing more detailed information about the project, its main research themes, progress and research results.
- Project E-Newsletter sent out on irregular basis, depending on availability of the brand new project information, or to invite stakeholders and other interested parties to open project events.

The ENRI-EAST print products are available at the project website and may be downloaded for free. They are and will be distributed to any interested party at academic and non-academic conferences, meetings and other events to spread awareness of the project and its outcomes.

ENRI-EAST Working Paper Series

The ENR-East project working paper series summarises the main project outcomes and constitute the core corpus of detailed information to disseminate project results and to inform key target groups on ENRI-EAST findings.

So far, the ENRI-EAST working paper series consist of 22 volumes, covering the following topics:

Summarizing and generalizing reports

1. Theoretical and methodological backgrounds for the studies of European, national and regional identities of ethnic minorities in European borderlands
2. Interplay of European, National and Regional Identities among the ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe (main comparative results of the ENRI-EAST empirical research)
3. ENRI-EAST Thematic Comparative papers and synopsizes of authored articles of ENRI-EAST experts (9 tender papers and further bibliography of project-related publications)

Contextual and empirical reports on ethnic minorities in Central and Eastern Europe (edited by respective team leaders)
4. The Polish Minority in Belarus
5. The Slovak Minority in Hungary
6. The Russian Minority in Latvia
7. The Belarusian Minority in Lithuania
8. The Polish Minority in Lithuania
9. The Russian Minority in Lithuania
10. The Belarusian Minority in Poland
11. The Ukrainian Minority in Poland
12. The Lithuanian Minority in Russia (Kaliningrad oblast)
13. The Hungarian Minority in Slovakia
14. The Hungarian Minority in Ukraine
15. The Polish Minority in Ukraine
16. Special Case Study Germany (re-emigrated ethnic Germans and Jewish ?quota refugees?)

Project website: http://www.enri-east.net

Contact coordinator: Dr. Alexander Chvorostov
Institute for Advanced Studies (Institut für Hohere Studien)
IHS-Vienna, Stumpergase 56, A-1060, Wien

Tel: +43-155-991304
Fax: +43-152-24346
E-mail: alex.chv@ihs.ac.at

Related information

Reported by

INSTITUT FUER HOEHERE STUDIEN UND WISSENSCHAFTLICHE FORSCHUNG
WIEN
Austria
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