Journal of Baltic Studies 53/4 Now Available Online

Nov 13, 2022

The fourth 2022 issue of Journal of Baltic Studies (Vol 53, Issue 4) is now available online. The issue contains two standalone articles, on the Baltic Russian-speaking communities’ responses to crisis and on the historical photography of disability in Latvia, and a special section entitled “Media and Baltic democracies.” Within the section, there are articles on the resilience of Baltic national media in a global context, the democratic transition and its effects on media, trust in public service media, and media innovation.

The issue also includes an obituary for Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr. (1924-2021), a book review, and a list of recently published Baltic titles.


How Baltic Russian-speaking audiences outmaneuver securitization, essentialization, and polarization in times of crisis

Triin Vihalemm & Jānis Juzefovičs

This article addresses transnational media use of Baltic Russian-speaking audiences that is often problematized in the public discourse as an inhibiting factor of their local integration and a threat to the national security of Estonian and Latvian societies. The authors operationalize a theoretical model of synergistic and antagonistic relationship between transnationalism and local integration drawing on the media use of Baltic Russian speakers. The findings suggest that the synergy between transnationalism and local integration is protected against discursive suppression via mundane balancing acts. Furthermore, the securitization of transnational media practices of the Russian-speaking population may not always lead to the rise of diasporic identities as reported in earlier studies.

The photographic representation of disability in the territory of Latvia in the second half of the nineteenth century

Stella Hermanovska

This article focuses on approaches to the representation of disability in nineteenth-century photography and the institutionalized construction of the understanding of disability in the photograph album titled Idioten-Anstalt von Fr. Platz: Riga d. 9. Juli 1862 published in 1862 in Riga, Latvia (then part of the Russian Empire). The aim of this article is to analyze to what extent the album was an instrument of authority, reflected a certain understanding of power, and became a tool for helping to construct an understanding of disability. The representation reveals the categorization and concepts of disability of the period and presents the results and consequences of institutional actions and the importance of the provision of special education and social care, as well as the formation of an inclusive society.

Resilience of national media systems: Baltic media in the global network environment

Ragne Kõuts-Klemm, Anda Rožukalne & Deimantas Jastramskis

This article aims to analyze the resilience of Baltic media systems in the global network environment. Resilience is here defined as media systems’ ability to survive despite the efflux of resources and loss of audiences’ attention and trust, and as the capacity to support a reliable, transparent, and diverse information sphere for the functioning of democracy. Using media market data from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the changes in the media during the last three decades will be analyzed. The analysis concludes that the implementation of media policy currently does not guarantee the resilience of small countries’ media systems.

Baltic democracies: re-configuring media environments and civic agency

Auksė Balčytienė & Kristina Juraitė

Though journalism remains relevant in many European democracies, it is not the dominant source of news for many groups of people. Newly arising dynamic mediated communication ecosystems run on user engagement and information choices, which require informed agency. Training of such a capability is assumed on the side of professional journalism. In the small Baltic nations, however, market-driven problems act as a permanent risk factor against both the democratic functioning of media and engaging the citizenry. The Baltic publics experience the deficiency of public arenas for their exercises in trust and confidence, and exposures of feelings of social solidarity.

Trust in public service media in the Baltic states

Andres Jõesaar, Anda Rožukalne & Deimantas Jastramskis

This article examines the trust level in the public service media (PSM) of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia between 2010 and 2020. The research results show that in Estonia the audience’s trust in PSM is the highest and it has increased significantly among Russian speakers after the introduction of ETV+. In Lithuania, PSM can gain more trust even by reaching a smaller share of the audience than commercial media. The Latvian audience places greater trust in commercial media. In all Baltic countries PSM are better valued by the representatives of the ethnic majorities. Therefore, Estonia’s media policy efforts at creating the Russian PSM TV channel can serve as an example for the other Baltic states. We also argue that the differences in the positions of PSM might be explained by the different amount of resources allocated to the PSM for the fulfillment of their remits.

Innovation in commercial and public service media in the Baltic countries: the role of global digital intermediaries

Džina Donauskaitė

This article analyzes the discourses of Baltic media leaders regarding how innovations in their organizations were affected by the perceived effects of global digital intermediaries Facebook, Google, and YouTube. Innovation in media organizations is often associated with digital transformations. In the Baltics, however, some innovative measures, such as digital-born outlets that produced linear television, surpass digital and are directed at reducing the effects of global digital intermediaries. Innovation in public broadcasting is led by a goal to reach new audiences and are as market-driven as commercial media. Both enthusiasm and skepticism toward global digital intermediaries has been expressed, but the established media organizations that had an early online start are showing more enthusiasm for the future.

In memoriam
Remembering †Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr. (1924–2021)

Edward Kasinec, Robert H. Davis Jr., Bogdan Horbal, Wojciech J. Siemaskiewicz & Hee-Gwone Yoo

Jānis Krēsliņš, Sr., was born and received his early education in Mālpils (German: Lemburg), Latvia. With the end of World War II, he fled to Austria, and hence to West Germany where he studied history, art, and library science at the University of Tübingen, Germany. He completed his graduate studies in library science at Columbia University, New York. Krēsliņš served as Bibliographer and Reference Librarian for the Council on Foreign Relations, New York (1955–92), and as an erudite Consultant for Baltic (Latvian and Lithuanian) History and Publications, The New York Public Library, Slavic and Baltic Division (1985–2008). In 1994, Krēsliņš facilitated The NYPL’s acquisition of the house collection of Helmārs Rudzītis (1903–2001), the well-known and successful publisher of Grāmatu Draugs [Friend of Books]. He was also instrumental in the creation of the first Latvian Book Fund at NYPL.

Beginning in 1970, Krēsliņš reviewed books and articles on the history of the Baltic states for the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies Newsletter. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Division of Social Sciences and Humanities, in recognition of his many publications on the history and literatures of the Baltic region and collections of poetry. In additional to all his attainments, Krēsliņš was a passionate collector of Lettica books, archives, and art.

His son, Dr. Jānis Krēsliņš, Jr., is Senior Academic Librarian for Research Affairs at the National Library of Sweden (Kungliga biblioteket).

Book review and recent publications

Neoliberal resilience: lessons in democracy and development from Latin America and eastern Europe
by Aldo Madariaga, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2020, 368 pp., $47.00/£35.00, ISBN 978-0-691-18259-9 (hbk), 978-0-691-20160-3 (ebook)

Kevin Axe

List of books received and recent publications

About the journal

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.