On 3 December at 10:00 Marianne Leppik will defend her doctoral thesis “The segmented integration and mediated transnationalism of Estonian Russian-speaking populations” (in media and communication).
Professor Triin Vihalemm, Univertsity of Tartu
Assistant Professor Koen Leurs, Utrecht University (The Netherlands)
Although Russian speakers in Estonia are united by the common use of Russian language and linked social practices, such as following Russian language media, deepening in-group distinctions still exist inside the Russian speaking population and therefore their local integration has taken place in various ways. Previous investigations have offered typologies of multidimensional social involvement of the Russian-speaking population in relation to the ownership of nation state specific capitals (e.g. Lauristin 2012, Rikmann et al 2013). This dissertation explores integration of Russian-speaking population more detailed way, by taking into account mediated transnationalism, i.e. participation in different media and information spaces and maintenance of (virtual) cross-border ties.
In the Estonian context the mutual modes of inter-connectedness have not, until now been comprehensively analysed. The role of Russia is considered to be, if not dangerous to, then definitely not supporting of, local social involvement. Results of this dissertation show that the widespread following of Russian and/or international media and personal cross-border communication practices of Russian-speakers in Estonia interact with the local integration in different ways by forming four different types of local integration. The results of this work indicate that local integration and mediated transnationalism are mutually connected, but at the same time, this inter-connectedness is also depending on the use and allocation of relevant resources and manifests differently.
The multi-active cosmopolitan type of integration is the most autonomous, has the best access to all relevant resources, multifarious media menu and wide communication network, which enables successfully operate in society. The dutiful, institutionally engaged type of integration is describable by high trust towards institutions, higher education and stable economic situation, but insufficient knowledge of Estonian might hinder participation in society. If regular following of news media supports local integration, then following of Russian-language media reinforces transnationalism and enables to maintain and develop historical-cultural identity. The active ethno-culturally engaged type of integration has taken advantage of ethno-cultural and civic engagement resources. Russian citizenship and Russia-related media and communication practices do not support development of local political and civic identity or relations with majority population, but associate with local collective activities and keep thereby involved. The most problematic type of integration is the passive, weakly engaged one, who lacks access to the important resources and therefore remains isolated from society. Transnationalism, as well societal passivity of this group is supported by entertainment type of activities in virtual space, especially in social media.