Directly informed by the Interpretivist epistemology
Creating an analytical framework based on objectively extant
factors can privilege some factors which are internally unimportant
By interviewing and analysing the spontaneous responses, only
those factors most salient are emphasised
Nationally, but non-demographically targeted one-to-one interviews involving a
The stimulus exercise involves participants sorting countries into groups, regions
and families of countries
Relies on the supposition that Geography does not exist objectively; rather,
there is only subjective, or “Imagined Geography”
Knowledge of national and regional identity is innate and difficult to discuss
“cold”; the purpose of the exercise is therefore also to encourage discussion
The regions are then rationalised, and the discussion turns to the target country:
Why is it placed where it is? What does it share in common with these
countries? Why is it not placed with other countries in its neighbourhood?
How are they different?
12. How is Estonia not Understood?
• Socio-Economic Models
• “Baltic Tiger” “Baltic Model” and “Nordic Model” were all privileged in the literature (eg
Browning 2007, Lagerspetz 2003), but not regarded as important subjectively
• Very significant because differing socio-economic models are often used as an important
differentiating factor when interpreting Estonian attempts to portray themselves as Nordic
(Browning 2007, Lagerspetz 2003)
• “They [the Baltic States] are not quite northern countries because they haven’t developed as
much. They don’t have such developed economies, and also the people, the nations that live
there, they need some time to get to Capitalism. That’s what I mean. They are trying, they are
making great efforts to get there, but it will take some time.” L
• “[What do you think Finland shares in common with these countries other than the climate?] A
developed economy.” L
15. How is Estonia Regionally Constructed and
• Religious similarities disregarded &
ignored, differences in religious practice
& perceptions of degrees of observance
are deployed as a differentiating factor
• Challenges Huntingtonian
interpretations of regional & national
• “I would say that we [The Baltic States] do not so much have in common at all, because Lithuania
is a very religious country…” H
• “…we are not a Pribaltika because, well we happened to be sort of close to each other but they
are predominantly, well Lithuania definitely, Latvia also, Catholic countries first of all…” M
Regarding Regionality as understood in Estonia
• Estonians see themselves as both Nordic and Baltic, and often there is no conceptual difficulty in
framing themselves as such.
• In certain respects eg shared victimhood, culturally, levels of economic development, Estonians
are happy to identify with Latvia and Lithuania and confirm the validity of the concept of the
• However, in other respects, they are keen to play down the importance of the “Baltic States” eg.
• Far more important for Estonians were their perceived cultural and historical links to Finland.
• In terms of a ‘national character,’ links to Finland were most important, and the very concept of
‘national character’ was a very significant one for Estonians, as evidenced by the fact that it was
regularly volunteered as a regionally defining factor.
17. Integration, Identity and Estonia
• Maria Mälksoo (2013) “Collective identifications are continuums along which
several shades of selfhood and otherness are possible with varying degrees of
difference, rather than clear dichotomies”
Hybridity and Plurality of Identity
• The results demonstrate that it is possible to adopt multiple identities and that
these need not challenge our ideas of who we are
• It is also possible that a hybridity of identity can exist
The question to be answered is which identity assumes dominance when the two
come into conflict – it is not possible to know what the outcome will be before the
stress point is reached
Identity can be applied to inform us of the best way to bridge the gap between the
Self and the Other.