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Integration policies and acculturation in Estonian society in last two decades - Aune Valk

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Presentation given at the expert seminar: New era in integration policies in the Baltic Sea Countries? Tallinn, Estonia, 25.2.2013

Presentation given at the expert seminar: New era in integration policies in the Baltic Sea Countries? Tallinn, Estonia, 25.2.2013


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  • 1. Integration policies and acculturation in Estonian society in last two decadesNew era in integration policies in the Baltic Sea countries? Tallinn 25.02.2013 Aune Valk
  • 2. Plan• Some statistics• Quick overview of last two decades in Estonia, incl integration strategies• Problems of interethnic relations in Estonia in my view
  • 3. Sources• Pettai, V., Hallik, K. (2002). Understanding processes of ethnic control: segmentation, dependency and co-optation in post-communist Estonia. Nations and Nationalism 8 (4), 505-529.• Vetik, R. (2007). Eesti ühiskonna integratsiooniprogrammi 2008-2013 üldideoloogia kontseptuaalne põhjendamine.• Statistics Estonia (2009). Immigrant population in Estonia
  • 4. Estonian population by ethnic self- identification, 2011 census84% are Estonian citizens, 7% Russiancitizens, 7% undefined citizens
  • 5. Estonians (darker green) and other nationalities in Estonia 1897-2010http://www.stat.ee/, slide by Ene Saar
  • 6. Citizenship 1992-2011Statistics Estonia, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of Citizenshi p and Migration
  • 7. Share of immigrant population across counties, 2008
  • 8. What has happened in Estonia regarding acculturation since 1990• Restoration of the pre-IIWW state in 1991• Most Russian-speakers were immigrants 1944- 1990 and did not obtain automatically citizenship• Estonia chose very radical reform-way that was most difficult for older people, people in countryside and Russian-speakers• Segmentation, (economic) dependency and co- optation of Russian minority (Pettai, Hallik, 2002; Lustic 1980)• First integration strategy 2000-2007 (initiated in 1998 with the title „integration of non-Estonians into Estonian society“)
  • 9. Cont.• Around 2000: fighting, closed, threatened Estonian identity and open but unclear-diffused Russian identity• 2000-2010: EU, NATO, economic growth, new generation: opening up of Estonian identity; new disappointed generation of Russian-speakers and globally integrated (individually oriented) Estonian- Russians (1/3)• Integration strategy 2007-2013: balanced, multicultural, …. But actions are still one-sided (language-learning and citizenship), Estonians do not see their role
  • 10. By the end of the first decade of 21 cent• Estonians (65%) are continuosly more disturbed by the different behaviour and lifestyle of Russians than vv (25%)• Russian-speakers trust less – State – 36% (Estonian 66%) – mainly government, parlament, president
  • 11. 1998-1999 first integration statements by Parlament and governmentState programme `The integration of non-Estoniansinto Estonian society‘ 19983 central concepts:•an individual-centred approach,•a common societal core and•an Estonian cultural predominance.„the essence of the State Programme is none theless to integrate non-Estonians into an Estonian-dominant state and society. In this respect, it ismeant to adapt non-Estonians to a pre-set Estonianworld, not to alter that world.“ (Pettai, Hallik, 2002)
  • 12. 2000: Integration in Estonian society 2000-2007• ‘Estonian version of multiculturalism’: – Cultural pluralism (but ethnic differences are private matter) – Strong shared common sphere (common democratic and humanistic values, shared information, but also sharing Estonian language, knowing Estonian history, acknowledging Estonian multicultural society – Need to preserve Estonian culture • Integration is two-sided • Concentrated on education, language, culture
  • 13. Priorities of the integration policy (Int Monitoring 2008)Estonians % Russian-speakers %Knowledge of Estonian language 57 Compliance with the principle of 58 equal treatmentTransition to partial teaching of 33 Equal socio-economic 57subjects in Estonian in Russian- opprtunities and welfare to non-medium schools Estonians and EstoniansReducing the number of persons 31 Increasing tolerance 57with undetermined citizenshipIncreasing tolerance 26 Reduction of separation between 49 information spheresCompliance with the principle of 25 Representation and participation 49equal treatment in public life
  • 14. Integration strategy 2013-2000• Language learning is seen as the main solution for almost all problems but „taking into account Estonian integration process, it is relevant to give Russian speakers information in Russian.“• Participation is low because of lack of language skills not because of Estonian’s attitudes (but 25% feel not welcome)• First time measures directed to the whole society (i.e. Estonians): tolerance, valuing cultural pluralism• Participation (in learning, employment) and state/citizen’s identity are seen as aims.
  • 15. Estonian policies(compared to other European policies)• concentrate on existing minorities not new immigrants (vs Western-Europe)• are specific – oriented to specific questions (vs e.g Sweden)• concentrate more on culture and language, less on economic matters• include less employers (vs Austria and Denmark), NGOs (vs UK, Spain)• stress similarly less the role of majority
  • 16. Challenges of ethnic relations in Estonia: problems of Estonians• Looking globally there are no (major) problems. Is it useful to for someone to keep the problems?• Estonians feel culturally threatened• Lack of tolerance is not considered a problem.• Integration is seen as assimilation, perceived assimilation pressure has contrary results
  • 17. Challenges of ethnic relations in Estonia (cont): problems related to multiculturalism• Estonian reality is bicultural not multicultural, two cultures (not just historical interests and state politics) are seen as opposite, sometimes conflictual.• Multiculturalism is understood in the public discourse as anti-Estonian political correctness coming from Europe• Positive multicultural (Estonian-Russian) identity is not common.• Estonian national/state identity is highly related to Estonian ethnic identity, it is difficult to become an Estonian/ State identity means different thing for different groups.
  • 18. Directionality of acculturation: who changes?• According to its original definition (Redfield et al. 1936: 149), acculturation is a two-sided process that refers to the “changes in the original culture patterns of either or both groups”.• Majority’s role in acculturation – to change oneself/ one’s identity – to influence with attitudes: assimilative, multicultural, segregative, …
  • 19. Cross-cultural Intercultural Multicultural1 nation – 1 culture 1 group – 1 culture– 1 person – multiple– 1 language 1 “native” language cultures/ languagesCultures/ Cultures/ Cultures/languages meet at languages meet at languages meet inpolitical boundaries social boundaries individuals“foreign” language “second” lg. “minority” vsteaching teaching, “sensitivity “standard” lg; lg for training” special purposesCommunication vs Communication vs Communicationnon-communication miscommunication always partialE.g. Kaplan, 1966 Scollon&Scollon, Johnstone&Bean, 1981 1997 By Barbara Johnstone
  • 20. Multiculturalism on an individual levelIn Your opinion, is it possible to belong to several ethnicgroups at the same time? % of yes answers RussiansEstonian-Russians Estonians 75 92 73
  • 21. National identity means different things for different groups• Multicultural national identity (MNI) Valuing multiculturalism (both on group and personal level) in Estonia. Statements like: – It does not disturb me that people of different ethnic origins live in Estonia. (group level) – In my opinion someone cannot be simultaneously a representative of Estonian and of some other culture. (R) (individual level)• National pride (NP) - feeling pride and connection to Estonian state, land and people. Statements like: – For me it is / it would be important to be an Estonian citizen. – I am proud that Estonia is known as a successful small country.
  • 22. Means for national identity, correlations of ethnic pride (EP) to national pride (NP) and multicultural national identity (MNI)  Ethnic  Ethnic  t-value Self-cat  Self-cat  t-value Estonia Russians as  as  ns Russian  Russian- Estonian MeansNation pride 1.20 0.23 27.80*** 0.04 0.59 8.28***Multic nat ID 0.67 1.12 -13.08*** 1.01 1.29 5.35***CorrelationsNP-EP .66*** .08 .07 .17*MNI-EP -.00 .28*** .36*** .26***
  • 23. Future, new norm?
  • 24. Report to the European Council ’Diversity and Cohesion, New Challenges for the Integration of Immigrants and Minorities’ (J. Niessen 2004)• Valuing diversity• Solidarity (why we have immigration)• Good government (inclusion of different groups)• Multiple memberships/identities
  • 25. Some ideas for (Estonian) future• Early contacts (and language learning) in kindergarten• Multiple identities, building positive merged/dual identities• Individualist approach: If people prefer to identify themselves neither with an immigrant group nor the host majority, there should still be another alternative to marginalization –individualist approach.• Language/culture learning due to inclusion not vv = less stress=less culture conflict