Friday, 27 September, 12:00–12:30 (Jakobi 2, Room 111)
Language of presentation: English
Department of Ethnology at the Agency of the University of Latvia “Institute of Latvian History at the University of Latvia”, PhD
ilze.boldane [ät] gmail.com
Ethnic Stereotypes of the Latvians at the End of the 20th Century and the Beginning of the 21st Century
Long before the definition and introduction of such widely-used terms as “prejudice”, “discrimination”, “ethnic (=ethno-cultural) identity”, “integration”, “xenophobia”, “stereotypes”, etc., into the active vocabulary of society, a division into one’s own people and strangers existed, and evaluation of the immediate and more distant human environment, as well as self-discovery through comparison with others, had been taking place. Identity obtained in the process of socialization and identification with other members of society determines an individual’s affiliation to social groups, including affiliation to a particular ethnic group with a certain system of values, standards of behaviour and world vision that have developed over time. Comparison, evaluation and determination of differences is a natural and organic practice of interethnic communication, which results in the formation of stereotypes on an everyday level. On the other hand, emphasis in a public space on differences existing between ethnic groups is determined by particular aims and is carried out in the interests of a particular social group.
The ethnic composition of Latvia’s population never has been mono-ethnical; but the 20th century brought the largest changes in quantitative structure and proportions of the society. Such heritage is a good base for ethnic stereotypes use and update. The author will deal with the Latvian respondents’ concepts of the physical and moral traits and characteristic behaviour of their own ethnos and nine other ethnic groups living in Latvia – the Belarusians, Estonians, Germans, Jews, Lithuanians, Poles, Roma, Russians and Ukrainians. In addition, the influence of the Latvians’ auto-stereotypes on the hetero-stereotypes will be evaluated, and spheres influencing the content of stereotypes (culture and history) will be identified.
Key words: auto/hetero-stereotypes, minorities, culture, history