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Challenges Faced by the Lithuanian State from Regional Identities

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Author(s): Petras Kalnius

Journal: Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics
ISSN 1736-6518

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1-2;
Start page: 101;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Regional identity | traditional culture | local community | Lithuania | Žemaitija

ABSTRACT
The article examines how a search for identity attempted by Žemaitians (Samogitians), a Lithuanian local cultural group, eventually evolves into the demand that Žemaitian community should be recognised as an autochthonous nation, and Žemaitian dialect – as a separate language, with all implicit rights. Attempts to implement the idea of a self-governed region as a guarantee of reconstruction and protection of Žemaitian identity is the most recent and vivid representation of such proceedings. Since Lithuania’s accession to EU is increasingly perceived as a threat to cultural identity, other local cultural groups also tend to support the idea of self-governed regions. A suggestion that four (4) self-governed regions covering respective local culture distribution areas should be created in Lithuania is promoted. The authors of such demands, due to a multitude of historical, political, and social reasons, still do not have many supporters in central government bodies, and even in local communities, although in Žemaitija their number is greater.
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