REFLECTION ON NATIONAL IDENTITY IN CONTEMPORARY LATVIAN LITERATURE: EMIGRANTS’ NARRATIVES
Published: 7 Oct 2019
Abstract: In modern Latvian society, economic emigration to the countries of Western Europe is a significant external phenomenon which affects both the development of the whole country and the consciousness of an individual. These processes have been studied in various fields of science, as well as reflected on in literature. Since 2002 when the first most comprehensive work about the life of Latvian economic migrants, Laima Muktupavela’s novel “The Mushroom Testament”, was published and gained wide popularity, Latvian authors have regularly addressed this topic. The works of Vilis Lacitis, Otto Ozols, and Andra Manfelde, which have addressed mainly the experiences of the first economic emigrants and their attempts to build their lives in a new socio-cultural environment, have become popular. Alongside practical survival challenges, one of the most urgent issues is the search for self-identity in the new cultural environment, which mainly refers to the sphere of national identity. The aim of the research is to analyse how modern Latvian literature depicts the search for national identity in the emigration cultural environment. The issue of identity has been thoroughly studied by modern liberal sciences (e.g. Fukuyama, Burke, Erikson, Ricoeur, Leary, Tangney, Thompson, Weinreich, Saunderson, Woodward, etc.) However, there are a lot of questions which still remain unclear. The dynamics of the world around cause permanent changes in the identity structure. The issue of preservation or transformation of national identity acquires unprecedented relevance in this situation. The research considers the economic emigrants’ subjective view of the world, which is revealed in the narratives in the modern Latvian literature, as one of the ways to analyse the processes of transformation of national identity in the situation of cultural interaction.
Keywords: national identity, emigration, culture, latvian literature, narratives
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