TITLE

Socialinė atmintis ir šiuolaikinė lietuvių tautinė tapatybė

AUTHOR(S)
Šutinienė, Irena
PUB. DATE
October 2008
SOURCE
Lithuanian Ethnology: Studies in Social Anthropology & Ethnology;2008, Issue 8, p31
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The article concerns the question of connections between the changing narrative of Lithuanian National history and Lithuanian national identity. How does the erosion of the meta-narratives and other contemporary changes of social memory transform the role of national past in the constant reconstitution of Lithuanian national identity, undergoing challenges of globalization? Are the myths of national past, mediated through symbols and other representations still the powerful source of the national imagination that binds people together by creating the sense of belonging to a national community? The aim of this article is to define the role of social memory in the construction of national identity, to identify the main cultural representations of social memory as well as informal narratives that are important for popular national imagination of the nation as a whole as well as of particular social and ethnic groups. The article is based on the results of the qualitative and quantitative empirical research (representative survey as well as semi-structured biographical interview), carried out by the Centre of Social Anthropology at Vytautas Magnus University and the Institute for Social research in 2005/2006. The use of the resources of national history (symbolic representations as well as informal narratives) in the construction of national identity, on the level of individual, was examined empirically. The popularity of symbolic representations of national history was examined with regard to their symbolic power when integrating ethnic and social groups and creating the cohesion of national community. The results show, that traditional myths of national history as well as main symbolic events of collective memory are still important for Lithuanian national identity construction, but the character of their use as the resource and their meaning for national identity at individual level has changed. According to the survey research data, the great impact on Lithuanian national identity is collective memory (the narratives transmitted through informal communication) of the events of the regaining of independence in 1988-1991. The memory of these events, endowed with emotional components, is almost equally important for all social and ethnic groups and their national identity; thus the mythologyzed memory of these events may become a powerful source of myths of national history unifying the Lithuanian nation. The popularity of symbolic cultural representations of Lithuanian narrative of national past indicates the erosion of the traditional myths of national history. The significance of myths and symbols interpreted in traditional ways - a remnant from the interwar period - decrease, and the significance of myths that legitimate contemporary goals and values of the nation, as well as actual aspects of national identity, increase. Individuals evaluate national history more rationaly, according to contemporary values of democracy and humanity As individuals become more active subjects of national identity construction, the use of traditional myths and symbols of national history as identity construction resources is individualized and selective. Individual agents also try to exert influence on the collective level of national identity, participating in reinterpretation of the public discourses of Lithuanian nationalism. This criticism also concerns questions of "collective forgetting": a significant number of people accept and try to incorporate into their national identity aspects of national past that can disturb the positive image of the nation (events perceived as "national shame", etc.).…
ACCESSION #
36784443

 

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