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2008 | 2(55) | 61-74
Article title

ORAL HISTORY OF THE LATVIAN EXILE COMMUNITY: LIFE-STORIES AS EXPRESSIONS OF SOCIAL ACTIVISM AND IDENTITY

Authors
Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
This research uses the oral history approach in analysing the situation of people in exile when new circumstances require them to achieve appropriate social status without losing their identity. The research materials include collections of biographical interviews with Latvians living abroad. Such life-stories have been gathered as part of the National Oral History Project conducted by the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology. The article is based on individual life-stories recorded from interviews with the older generation of Latvian society in Sweden. After reading through dozens of recorded and transcribed life-stories, four aspects of how an exile community was established and how it expressed itself was distinguish: (1) the sharing of biographical narratives among exiles; (2) special 'legends' in these stories which strengthen collective self-esteem; (3) the identity of being an outsider in interactions with natives; and (4) many representations of activity in cultural and political groups within the community. The formation of community among those in forced migration stems from the need to preserve identity, which is an integral part of exile culture, and from a sense of responsibility towards the home country with which it is possible to identify only by somehow working for its independence. As the author sees it, social activism by emigrants could be conceptualized as a social movement in the sociological sense
Contributors
  • E. Supulis, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia, 1 Akademijas laukums, Riga, LV-1940, Latvia, http://www.lza.lv/inst/in20.htm
References
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
CEJSH db identifier
08LVAAAA05465
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.2bbb7c66-d1fd-3c55-a68a-5afa042da333
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