Challenges Faced by the Lithuanian State from Regional Identities

Petras Kalnius

Abstract


The article examines how a search for identity attempted by Žemaitians (Samogitians), a Lithuanian local cultural group, eventually evolves into the demand that Žemaitian community should be recognised as an autochthonous nation, and Žemaitian dialect – as a separate language, with all implicit rights. Attempts to implement the idea of a self-governed region as a guarantee of reconstruction and protection of Žemaitian identity is the most recent and vivid representation of such proceedings. Since Lithuania’s accession to EU is increasingly perceived as a threat to cultural identity, other local cultural groups also tend to support the idea of self-governed regions. A suggestion that four (4) self-governed regions covering respective local culture distribution areas should be created in Lithuania is promoted. The authors of such demands, due to a multitude of historical, political, and social reasons, still do not have many supporters in central government bodies, and even in local communities, although in Žemaitija their number is greater.

Keywords


Regional identity; traditional culture; local community; Lithuania; Žemaitija

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ISSN (print) 1736-6518. ISSN (online) 2228-0987. JEF is a joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum.