The Spirit Of Survival: Projections of International Solidarity and Security in Contemporary Estonia

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2019-04

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Abstract

This thesis explores the relationship between national cultural spaces and identity in a former Soviet-Bloc state. Through the lens of Estonian history museums and national performances, this paper studies how representations of national identity in the post-Soviet context are a reaction to dominant transnational forces that increasingly challenge the post-Soviet state’s perceptions of respect and power. Applying critical discourse analysis (CDA) theory, I connect museum and song texts to their social and political environment and to overarching global factors. In particular, I analyze Estonian song themes and historical narratives in relation to the Estonian nation, how they fit within the state’s political goals of ‘returning to Europe’, abide by the cultural models of what it means to be ‘European’, and project idealized conditions of a nation-state, such as ethnic homogeneity. Based on my evidence, I argue that the national performance and museum narratives are representing diverging ideals of the nation and state, respectively, in the contemporary era. Although the two representations are not completely incompatible, they position the state on an unstable foundation, which could lead to state sanctioned unrest in the future.

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Loweth, Katharyn (2019). The Spirit Of Survival: Projections of International Solidarity and Security in Contemporary Estonia. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18563.


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