9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Strategies Against Racism Building II, C5.09

Interethnic Dialogue in Latvia: How to Maintain Tolerance?

Latvia is a multietnic society where Latvians consist 59% of populations and others ? ethnic minorities. So, it is very important to maintain the mutual tolerance between ethnic groups in the state. Scientific thought tends to study interaction of mutual relations in society in the light of mutual dialogue; however, in the case of active interaction in society, not only different individual ethnic identity representatives but also collective ethnic identity representatives ? independent ethnic groups with a developed identity - may influence the state?s cultural life, communication system and even politics. It is obvious that the formation of the mutual dialogue is possible when not only specific people ? original ethnic identity representatives - are recognized as fully-fledged collective subjects of the potential dialogue (J.Habermas).
To demonstrate the way in which in the modern Latvian civil society recognises ethnic groups as the subjects of the mutual dialogue, the author used several data from a sociological research ?Interaction of Eastern Latvian ethnic groups in a collective and individual identification as a factor of the development of a civil society?. 157 secondary school teachers from all the regions of Eastern Latvia participated in this research. The selection was representative and stratified; vast ethnic diversity which is represented by the Latvians as well as the ethnic minorities is typical of Eastern Latvia. This research puts the emphasis exactly on the subject of mutual dialogue as an analysis of the peculiarities of a collective factor.
In the given research the issue of ethnic minority recognition as fully-fledged subjects of mutual dialogue is examined, analysing respondents? attitude towards two important forms of institutionalization of ethnic minority identity:
? mass media means which function in ethnic minorities languages;
? secondary education institutions which function in ethnic minorities languages.