ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2018 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Volume 64, No.2 - Summer 2018
Editor of this issue:Almantas Samalavičius


Identity Formation in the Lithuanian Diaspora (II)

Dovilė Šarkūnaitė

In this study, four Lithuanian emigrant newspapers from the USA were examined in order to discover the ways in which this particular form of news media shape the diasporic identities of the Lithuanian emigrants who live in the USA. 302 news articles from emigrant newspapers Čikagos Aidas and Draugas that were released in 2014, 2015, and 2016 were analyzed by employing the method of thematic analysis in order to draw conclusions about the identities of Lithuanian-Americans who are the intended audience of the aforementioned newspapers. The findings reveal that the Lithuanian-Americans tend to maintain their sense of Lithuanianess by focusing on Lithuanian history and traditions as well as discussing Russia’s threat to post-Soviet nations, such as Ukraine, rather than feeling kinship with the present-day Lithuania, which is viewed in a rather negative light due to the general political corruption and low level of economic stability that permeates the country. The emigrants’ tendency to integrate symbolic elements of perceived Lithuanianess, such as admiration of Lithuanian folklore as well as resistance to Soviet influence, now represented by Russia’s aggressive foreign policies, into their identities while maintaining a distance from the actual Lithuania signifies that this diasporic community has a unique hybrid identity that sets its members apart from both other North Americans, and Lithuanians who are currently living in Lithuania. These findings are significant because they provide new insights into the way Lithuanian diasporic communities deal with Lithuania’s past trauma and present social maladies as well as construct their national identities in a multicultural environment.