Feldman, Gregory. (1999) “The Identity Discourse on Estonia’s Integration into Europe: International Relations and Anthropological Perspectives”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)
This paper grows out of research for my dissertation proposal in anthropology and my master’s paper in international relations. I mention this only to admit that my approach to the discourse on Estonia’s integration into Europe may require adjustment after commencing fieldwork in the next academic year. In other words, all the facts are hardly in. However, my work so far indicates that Estonia’s identity discourse features a large number of cultural identities referring to the supra-national level rather in addition to an exclusive nationalist level. This phenomenon is particularly interesting given this small country’s history of oppression from foreign hands and, at times, near cultural extinction. Both tragedies would suggest that ardent appeals to the core nation would dominate identity discourse in order to appease national insecurities. However, the discourse on Estonia’s identity must be understood in the context of this country’s international relations and “successful” post-socialist transformation, signified by political stability, a rapidly growing economy, and minimal ethnic tension. This context forces us to ask whether and how European integration can ameliorate the discourse on exclusive national identities.
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