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Posted on Feb 23, 2020

Journal of Baltic Studies 51/1 Available Now

Journal of Baltic Studies


The first 2020 issue of Journal of Baltic Studies (Vol 51, Issue 1) is now available online. The issue contains articles on the changing conceptions of beggars and vagrants in 19th and 20th-century Lithuania, mobile belonging in Estonian historical everyday letters, the varieties of Lithuanian language acquisition, political parties and their members in Lithuania, the identity of Polish young people in Latvia, self-reflexive metaphors among Russian-speaking refugees in Estonia, and the impact of the euro’s adoption on the complexity of goods in Estonian exports. The issue also includes four book reviews and a list of recently published Baltic titles.


Lazy or diseased? Changing conceptions of beggars and vagrants in the Lithuanian discourse from the end of the nineteenth century to 1940
Andrea Griffante

Until the outbreak of World War I, vagrants and beggars were depicted as a group lacking the basic elements of morality, which the national elite considered its own identity-maker. Unwillingness to work, filth, drunkenness, ignorance, and contagious diseases were depicted as the visible features of moral indignity. Their condition remained redeemable through educational tools. In postwar Lithuania, the overall characterization of vagrants and beggars remained unchanged. Nevertheless, their sanitary stigmatization and the concept of heritability of social ‘diseases’ became dominant, making isolation and disciplining the only tools to protect the ‘healthy’ organism of society from social contagion.

KEYWORDS: Poor, national discourse, Lithuania 1918–1940, social stigma, Lithuanian national movement, alcoholism, eugenics

Mobile belonging in historical everyday letters: the case of Estonia in the 1950s
Kadri Kasemets & Hannes Palang

This study contributes to the micro-history during the structural reorganization of Estonia in the 1950s by examining everyday letter exchange between family members, consisting of a single mother and her two daughters. The study uses a mobilities approach toward the meaning of belonging while investigating everyday places and related practices, the mentalities of individual stages of life, and symbolical relations which are influenced by structural formation. The study indicates mobile characteristics of belonging in a family’s subjective attachment to a place.

KEYWORDS: Belonging, everyday, letter writing, mobility, rurality, Sovietization

Do I need/want to speak? Foreigners in a “small” language country
Jogilė Teresa Ramonaitė

This article draws on linguistic and sociolinguistic data that was gathered to study the acquisition of Lithuanian as a second language and considers the factors that are at work in the process of language acquisition. The article also presents an overview of the varieties of language acquisition. A combination of biological, social, psychological, and other factors plays a role in this process and the complexity is shown by considering sociolinguistic data and the reflections of the study’s participants.

KEYWORDS: Sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, second language acquisition, language attitudes, L2 acquisition factors

Political parties and their members in Lithuania
Alison F Smith

Previous research expected political parties in post-communist democracies to avoid the ‘time consuming and arduous’ process of building and maintaining membership bases. By 2007, however, 5.2% of the Lithuanian public were members of a political party (Eurequal). This research uses surveys and interviews to investigate the functions of party members in two Lithuanian political parties, Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats and the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party. This article explores elites’ incentives for developing their parties as membership organizations. Members were valued for offering ‘legitimacy benefits’ and helping parties to communicate with voters, including by acting as ‘ambassadors in the community.’

KEYWORDS: Lithuania, party membership, political parties, electoral campaigning, grassroots campaigning, party funding, mass media

Polish young people in Latvia: between Polish and Russian identity, a dilemma of the identity of students in Polish schools in Daugavpils and Rēzekne
Marcin Wojciech Solarz, Małgorzata Wojtaszczyk, Magdalena Skorupska, Ada Górna, Krzysztof Górny, Anna Hofman & Małgorzata Tryfon

This article discusses the results of field research into the Polish minority in eastern Latvia conducted in the autumn of 2016. The focus of the research was the sense of national identity felt by young people of Polish descent in Latvia and their ties with Poland, in particular as evidenced by the pupils of two Polish schools in Daugavpils and Rēzekne. The methods used were survey questions and memory maps. The findings indicate that the local Polish minority is strongly Russified, especially in their language of everyday communication. Paradoxically, however, the Polish school students express deep emotional ties with Poland.

KEYWORDS: Latvia, Latgale, Polish minority, national identity

Ferroconcrete cases, sausage migrants, and Santa Barbara: self-reflexive metaphors among Russian-speaking refugees in Estonia
Anastasiya Astapova

In this article, I present the results of my fieldwork among refugees and asylum seekers in Estonia. I start with an explanation of the refugee situation in Estonia and its public perception which mainly concentrates on Asian and African refugees. Then, the article focuses on a large yet overlooked group of asylum seekers from post-Soviet countries, the reasons they have for coming to Estonia, and the main discussions among them on the asylum process. The analysis of how this considerable refugee community conceives of the asylum-seeking process in Estonia collectively provides the understanding of the Estonian asylum migration system from below. I show how self-reflexive metaphors crystallizing in the discussions of Russophone refugees codify the asylum-seeking process in familiar categories and help them to navigate the legal strategies for constructing the narrative appealing to the decision-makers.

KEYWORDS: Estonia, refugees, asylum seekers, metaphors, Russian, post-Soviet, vernacular, ethnography

Does the euro increase the complexity of exported goods? The case of Estonia
Piotr Gabrielczak & Tomasz Serwach

The goal of this article is to assess the impact of the euro’s adoption on the complexity of goods in Estonian exports. That policy decision may result in the specialization of production of either more or less sophisticated goods, depending on the country’s technological advancement and factor endowment. At the same time, intensified foreign direct investment (FDI) flows may enhance the engagement of a country in international production chains with ambiguous consequences for export complexity. We applied the Synthetic Control Method to compare the observed post-adoption levels of export complexity in Estonia with the counterfactual values of Estonia remaining outside of the Eurozone.

KEYWORDS: Euro, international trade, complexity, treatment, Estonia


Didysis karas visuomenėje ir kultūroje: Lietuva ir Rytų Prūsija
by Vasilijus Safronovas, Vytautas Jokubauskas, Vygantas Vareikis, and Hektoras Vitkus, Klaipėda, Klaipėdos universiteto leidykla, 2018, 240 pp., €22.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-9955-18-991-6
Tomas Balkelis

Women’s experiences of repression in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
by Kelly Hignett, Melanie Ilic, Dalia Leinarte and Corina Snitar, Abingdon, Routledge, 2018, 196 pp., £120.00 (hbk), ISBN 978-1-138-04692-4; 978-1-315-16239-3 (ebook)
Aigi Rahi-Tamm

The Baltic states and the end of the Cold War
edited by Kaarel Piirimäe, Olaf Mertelsmann, Berlin, Peter Lang, 2018, 356 pp., €62.60/£51/$75.95, ISBN 978-3-631-71655-7, 978-3-631-74494-9 (ebook)
Amir Weiner

Lithuanian architecture and urbanism: essays in history and aesthetics
by Almantas Samalavičius, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019, 210 pp., £61.99, ISBN 978-1-5275-2228-2
K. Paul Zygas

List of books received and recent publications


Journal of Baltic Studies (JBS), the official journal of AABS, is a vital source of scholarship for those engaged in Baltic state and Baltic Sea region studies. JBS is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal published on a quarterly basis that aims at progressing and disseminating knowledge about the political, social, economic, and cultural life – both past and present – of the Baltic states and the Baltic Sea region. JBS seeks high-quality original articles and review of broad scholarly interest that advance knowledge of the Baltic states and Baltic Sea region.

Published quarterly by the AABS, the annual fee for both membership in the Association and a subscription to JBS is $70.00, $35.00 for full-time students, and $35.00 for emeritus members. Members of the Association receive a free personal subscription to the Journal.

JBS welcomes article and book review submissions from AABS members and other scholars. See the Instructions for Authors page for more info.