Accepted paper:

Lithuanian law on citizenship: culture and ethnicity

Authors:

Darius Daukšas (University of Eastern Finland)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyses the Lithuanian Law on Citizenship and its application in the state institutions in a broader Eastern European context. Mainly the focus lies on the aspect of granting citizenship for persons of Lithuanian descent.

Paper long abstract:

Until the recent years citizenship was viewed as a political concept and defined as a relationship between individual and state. However cultural dimension of citizenship is recently being taken on board. By this I mean that both the concept of citizenship and culture operate in a communal context and imply some relationship between individual and community. The aspect of culture in citizenship politics is analytically useful tool in trying to explain the popular dichotomy in social science of "civil West" and "ethnic East". In the paper I will analyse the Lithuanian Law on Citizenship and its application in the state institutions in a broader Eastern European context. Mainly my focus lies on the aspect of granting citizenship for the persons of Lithuanian descent which, I will argue, is a part of so called kin-state strategy in Eastern and Central Europe. I will analyse this aspect as a link between majority culture and citizenship. The aspect of culture is obvious in the process of application of Citizenship Law for the persons of Lithuanian descent in the state institutions. I call the aspect of establishing Lithuanian citizenship under the paragraph of Lithuanian descent 'contracted ethnicity'. I would show that state institutions that implement the Citizenship Law in practice use the cultural components such as 'Lithuanian activities', 'Lithuanian names', religion and others in order to establish persons' Lithuanian descent. The aspect of contract appears when a person whose Lithuanian descent is established has to write down a free hand declaration that he/she considers himself/herself to be of Lithuanian descent. I will argue that practices of signing down the declaration and the usage of cultural components in establishing Lithuanian descent are indeed the management of ethnicity.

panel W029
Anthropology of citizenship(s): comparing conceptions and analysing changes from Europe