What does nationality mean today? Construction of national identity of the students who are attending Lithuanian schools

Agnė Juškevičienė


This paper strives to reveal what does nationality as the basic element constructing the national identity means to Lithuanian students attending Lithuanian schools in Lithuania, Poland and Belarus. Empirical qualitative research was conducted from the end of 2013 to the beginning of 2014 with ninth and tenth graders attending Lithuanian schools in Lithuania, Poland and Belarus. The research sample: Lithuania (12 ninth graders; 13 tenth graders); Poland (15 ninth graders; 14 tenth graders); Belarus (4 ninth graders; 5 tenth graders). Study instrument: an essay. Analyzing the study data, categories were distinguished in terms of the structural components of the identity (Herskovits, 1948; Huntington, 1996): 1) national heritage; 2) ethnocentrism; 3) cultural homogeneity; 4) belief structure. The research data reveals that Lithuanian students attending Lithuanian schools in Poland perceive their nationality as encompassing all four components of the national identity. The most explicit reference, as in the case of Lithuanian students attending schools in Lithuania, is to the category of the cultural homogeneity, which involves the most explicit expression of the involvement to the process of fostering the culture. However, in the Lithuanian group, nationality even triggers negative feelings and indifference. The results of qualitative research results in Lithuanian schools in Belarus show that students of these schools identify the state of being a Lithuanian with cultural homogeneity, when they can foster their mother tongue, traditions, customs. etc.; also the students see actual possibilities to associate their future with their homeland, which in this case is Lithuania.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n22p20

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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