9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS02 Dynamics and Complexity of Minority Statuses in Plural Societies

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Indigenous Minorities and Religious Minorities Building II, C3.02

Minorities within and minorities outside

Minorities within and minorities outside paper presents the identity structures and minority politics of three groups - German minority in Poland and Polish minorities in Czech Republic and in Latvia. Their common characteristics is that these are indigineous minorities with mythical eternity of residence. Despite the historical differences their existence is due to the political changes in the Central-Eastern Europe since centuries. In three locations each of these minorities was studied with help of the interviewing of about 200 people . In case of German minority they form part of the random sample taken in the locality, in case of Polish minorities they are picked up randomly from the membership of local Polish organizations. The identity questions were asked allowing for multiple identity choice, including also European identitfication as well as the local and regional one. The political attitudes of the organizations of minority as well as the views of the ordinary people were studied as well as the history of minority activities in the locality and region. It seems that after the sudden liberalization of the ethnic and national identities after 1989 the stabilization of the views occurred. The concept of Czech or Latvian Polishness and of the Polish and Silesian Germanness is getting strength. This is related to the freedom of movement within the European Union as well. The local minorities seem to become voluntarily strengthening their ties with their "local" political units also because of the developing regional identity. The politics of citizenship, however, like the German constitutional clause or the "Charter of Poles" may still strengthen the isolationist tendencies but only amongst the ever smaller strong core of the one nationality holders in contrast to the growing share of the multiple-identity holders,