ETHNIC MINORITIES IN THE BORDER CULTURE SPACE: THE LITERARY AND CULTUROLOGICAL CONTEXT
References: 3rd International Multidisciplinary Scientific Conference on Social Sciences and Arts SGEM 2016, www.sgemsocial.org, SGEM2016 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-77-3 / ISSN 2367-5659, Aug 24-31, 2016, Book 3 Vol. 2, 65-72pp, DOI: 10.5593/SGEMSOCIAL2016/B32/S08.009
Ethnic and national identity make an intrinsic facet of the collective social identity in contemporary Latvian society and culture space as they mark the people’s awareness of their belonging to a particular ethnos and a particular society. Ethnic minorities in the border culture space are also the bearers of certain ethnic identities. Ethnic identity entails a person’s feelings and notions of one’s group, folk, nation that cannot be abandoned or borrowed but can be preserved, fortified, and enriched. According to Latvian philosopher I. Shuvajevs, ethnic identity exists in a human before s/he is aware of it, and in certain situations one only tries to emphasize it, justify and express it in words. An ethnos can exist without its own state and even outside its ethnic territory, but ethnic belonging is sensitive to many interpersonal factors. Latvian culture sociologist D. Beitnere points out that discussions on identity issues are activated in a society and culture in periods of change when people feel insecure and concerned about future.
Ethnic identity is a part of social identity. According to O. Nikiforov, the structure of ethnic identity entails two main components: the cognitive (knowledge and assumptions of the specificity of one’s group and the sense of belonging) and the effective (valuing the features of one’s group, the significance of belonging) one.
Attempts at locating the national culture values, national identity and its specifics are directly related to the understanding of the culture. The interdisciplinary positioning of the object of study brings forth the question of methods of investigating culture and the means of revealing in a most adequate way the specificity of the regarded culture. The present paper investigates the representation of ethnic minorities in the border culture space in texts of fiction by Latvian and Latgalian literary classics and contemporary authors J. Jaunsudrabins, E. Adamsons, A. Liepa, as well as Russian and Belarusian writers and poets –S. Volodjko, S. Januskevics, F. Osina. These authors can be divided into two groups – those residing in the border zone and those who have visited it and depict it in some of their texts.
Border culture space is revealed in these writers’ works as a part of Latvia marked by ethnic and religious diversity, where Latvian and Latgalian people live side by side with Russian, Belarusian, Jewish, Roma people (the ethnic minorities depicted in the writers’ works) representing all major Christian religious denominations (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Old Believers) and Judaism.
Keywords: ethnic minorities, border culture space, ethnic identity, national identity, religious denominations
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