Social integration processes in Estonia and Slovakia

Regelmann, Ada-Charlotte (2012) Social integration processes in Estonia and Slovakia. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Studies of interethnic integration in Central Eastern Europe have sought to account for the impact that institutional settings, structural conditions and elite-level interaction have on the accommodation of and conflict resolution between ethnic groups. Much existing literature has placed particular emphasis on the importance of institutional factors, both domestically and as a result of international pressure. Simultaneously, scholarship on the issue has left out of focus the contributions of non-dominant minority actors to the dynamics of interethnic relations. Where minorities are taken into account, this happens largely in terms of their failure to recognise structural opportunities for their inclusion into majority society.
This study analyses interethnic integration in the Central Eastern European context from the perspective of structuration theory. Structuration theory provides a sound theoretical foundation in order to study non-dominant agency and its impact on the structures of integration, owing to its ability to reconcile dichotomies. The thesis comprises a comparative case study of interethnic interaction in Estonia and Slovakia, focusing on the Russian-speaking and the Hungarian minority respectively. A structuration approach is applied to the empirical findings in order to problematise practices of integration and their constraints that lie in the institutional and interaction context of Estonian and Slovak post-Communist society. I argue that although Russian-speakers in Estonia and Hungarians in Slovakia are constrained by institutional environs and majority-dominated structures, minority members actively participate in and shape institution-building and group formation in their interaction with majorities. Minority integration is analysed in terms of the minorities’ co-operation within, counteraction against and formulation of alternatives to the status quo structures of interethnic relations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Structuration theory, minority integration, ethnic minorities, linguistic minorities, post-communism, Estonia, Slovakia, Russian-speakers, Hungarian minority (Magyars), nation-state, state- and nation-building
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Slavonic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Smith, Professor David J.
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Dr Ada-Charlotte Regelmann
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3321
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2012
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 14:06

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