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Ethnic boundary-making in a Latvian university
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study explores experiences of division into ethnic groups of Latvians and Russians

at Liepāja University in Latvia. The Soviet heritage has left a Russian minority that

constitutes a quarter of the Latvian population. The Latvian and Russian groups are

divided by opposed interpretations of the past Soviet domination in Latvia. Citizenship

regulations and language practices forces the Russian group into an excluded position.

In the education system nationalistic Latvian norms and values are excluding. To

explore experiences of this group division, this study use a phenomenological approach

and is built on nine in-depth interviews with students. Andreas Wimmers theory of

ethnic boundary-making, which suggests five strategies for how an actor may react to

ethnic boundaries, is used as model. The result suggests that the informants experience

the division into ethnic groups at Liepāja University as important in order to relate to

each other as either Latvian or Russian, but not of particular importance or influence in

everyday interaction. The use of the Latvian language includes the Russian group in the

Latvian majority through Wimmers expansion strategy while the use of the Russian

language may exclude from the majority group through the contraction strategy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Ethnicity, ethnic boundary-making, ethnic groups, social exclusion, Post-Soviet, Latvia, educational institutions, university
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120637OAI: diva2:853933
Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-15 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved

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