Lithuanian and Belarusian National Identity in the Context of European Integration
This monograph was developed as part of a larger research project entitled Peculiarities of National Identity of Lithuania and Belarus in the Context of European Integration, the aim of which was to conduct a comparative analysis of national identity in these two proximate but very different nation-states. The work was carried out by researchers at Belarusian State University (Minsk, Belarus), Vytautas Magnus University (Kaunas, Lithuania) and the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA). The research was conducted in accordance with an agreement between the Government of the Republic of Belarus and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on matters regarding cooperation in science and technology as determined by the State Committee on Science and Technology of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania.
The ambiguous term identity essentially refers to the capacity of individuals and social groups to retain their specificities and qualitative characters, despite historic, territorial and political changes and transformations. It was not until the 20th century that this term became widely used in academic language. In the last decades of the 20th century, this concept became one of the most important categories within the social sciences. The phenomenon of identity is the main factor that describes and differentiates contemporary societies (Dziubka 2008, 286-289). This explains the increased attention paid by researchers to the problems of identity formation and meaning.
This chapter examines the nature of national identity found in Belarusian and Lithuanian youth through a micro-level analysis of survey data – a departure from the primarily macro-level analyses in a number of the preceding chapters. With the use of this survey instrument, we hope to determine the level of saliency of given identity markers, both ethnolinguistic and civic, apparent in the individuals surveyed.