Estonia: Identity and Independence

By Jean-Jacques Subrenat; David Cousins et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Raimo Raag


The National Identity and Culture of Estonians Living in the
West
1944–1991

1. Points of Departure

The process of membership in society starts during childhood and continues for the rest of one's life. With little exaggeration, it can be said that there are six key aspects to the socialisation of the individual: home and family; relatives; friends and acquaintances; education; work; everyday life. The outcome of this process of socialisation is self-sufficiency of the individual, and finding one's place, to a greater or lesser extent, amongst those nearby, in the midst of other human beings and groups in society, as well as the behaviour resulting from such relationships. The way people determine their own lives and relate to their environment does not go unchanged over time. Such changes are especially noticeable when an individual ends up outside the environment he is used to, and moves his place of residence in order to, for instance, seek work or education. In such cases the individual must inevitably be clear about his attitudes to, and relationships in, this new environment.

After World War Two, especially towards the end, tens of thousands of Estonians found it suddenly necessary to clarify and resolve such attitudes and relationships, as they fled Estonia and found refuge abroad. Although by no means all Estonian refugees were aware of the fact, they would have to make a choice in their new homelands: either to adopt the new language and culture or not, and, in so doing to abandon, or attempt to preserve their own culture and language. John Widdup Berry identifies four courses of action undertaken by emigrants in their new environment. If a person preserves his old culture, but at the same time enters the new society around him, then this is termed integration; if he preserves the old culture but rejects the new one, this is termed separation; if he abandons the old culture and embraces the new one, this is termed assimilation; and if he rejects both the old and the new culture, this is termed marginalisation (Berry 1990: 243–246).

Those Estonians who moved to, or ended up in the West, during World War Two, and their descendants born in the West, have often been characterised as successfully integrated. Below I shall briefly describe the

-179-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Estonia: Identity and Independence
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 310

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?