The Baltic Region

2020 Vol. 12 № 2

Comparative analysis of students’ collective consciousness in the Russia-EU and Russia-China border regions: mathematical modelling

Abstract

Given the unique diversity of Russian regions, regional studies are becoming particularly important for ensuring the stability and development of Russia. There is an extensive body of literature on the economic and social characteristics of Russian regions, their types and ranking whereas the study of collective consciousness requires further attention. It is the collective consciousness that shapes human activity, the results of which largely determine the development of countries and their regions. The authors study the spiritual sphere of regions, the inner world of people, who are human capital. This study is particularly important in relation to Russian youth, who have become one of the most active social groups. The public demand for the analysis of collective consciousness has been constantly growing. The authors argue that there are regional differences in collective consciousness, which are manifested most prominently in the comparison of eastern and western regions. The growing intensity of interaction between Europe and Asia makes the comparison of the western and eastern border regions of Russia particularly important from the geopolitical point of view. The authors employ the principles of an emerging scientific direction, border regional studies, for a comparative analysis of the collective consciousness of students from two border regions located on the Russia-European Union and Russia-China borders. The authors present the results of the survey they conducted in the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad) and Amur State University (Blagoveshchensk). They examine the sociological phenomenon of ‘regional consciousness’ and substantiate the criteria for selecting the objects of research. It is the first time in sociology that logistic regression models reflecting the main characteristics of regional consciousness have been built. The article aims to confirm the multiplicity of types of regional consciousness and to demonstrate that in the socially homogeneous group, Russian graduate students, there are still regional differences even in the generally similar assessments of the ongoing social processes.

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The ethnopolitical movement as a vehicle for nationalism institutionalisation in modern Latvia

Abstract

This article investigates the Popular Front of Latvia, a public ethnopolitical movement that substantially contributed to the independence of the modern Republic of Latvia. The study aims to identify how much the movement influenced the development of ethnic nationalism, which has become essential to statehood and the identification of politics. It continues to reinforce group inequality in this multiethnic country. The article describes the background and main landmarks of the movement. Content analysis of manifestos has been carried out to trace changes in the Popular Front’s ideological vision. It is shown that the shift in priorities that took place during the 1988—1991 struggle for Latvia’s political and economic independence led to a non-democratic political regime. Particular attention is paid to the movement’s proposals concerning the principles of statehood restoration and citizenship acquisition as well as to approaches to solving ethnic problems. The focus is on why and under what circumstances the Popular Front dissolved itself and the supra-ethnic opposition, its main rivals, left the political scene. It is argued that the Popular Front of Latvia created conditions both for the titular nation taking precedence over other ethnic groups and for the exclusion of one-third of the country’s resident population from political life. It is concluded that, as the movement transformed and gradually abandoned its democratic principles, it became the main vehicle for the institutionalisation of ethnic nationalism in Latvia.

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Effective risk communication as a factor in managing protests attitudes in a local community

Abstract

Contemporary research into the perception of environmental risks suffers from poor knowledge of risk communication in the local community and of how different ways of risk communication affect protest attitudes. This study aims to clarify communication strategies and practices used by members of local communities as a protest response to environmental threats. The work builds on the cultural theory developed by Douglas, Dake, Bremen, and others. This theory distinguishes between several cultural types (hierarchism, individualism, communitarianism, and egalitarianism), which differ in how environmental risks are perceived and what forms risk communication takes. The study investigates the case of the village of Nivenskoe in Russia’s Kaliningrad region where residents opposed the development of a potassium salt deposit. It is concluded that egalitarians and communitarians are more likely than hierarchists and individualists to participate in protests when a serious environmental threat arises. Respondents of all cultural types tend to trust information coming from their close social network, public figures, and environmentalists whereas people of business are trusted the least.

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Impact of external migration on changes in the Swedish religious landscape

Abstract

For most of its history, Sweden has been a country dominated by the Lutheran Church, having the status of the official state religion. Starting in mid-to-late 20th century, mass immigration to Europe had a considerable impact on the confessional structure of Sweden’s population. The growing number of refugees from the Balkan Peninsula, the Middle East, and Africa has turned Sweden into a multi-religious state. Sweden has become one of the leaders among the EU countries as far as the growth rates of adherents of Islam are concerned. Immigrants are exposed to adaptation difficulties causing their social, cultural and geographical isolation and making relatively isolated migrant communities emerge. This study aims at finding correlation between the changes in the confessional structure of Swedish population (as a result of the growing number of non-Christians) and the geographical structure of migrant flows into the country. This novel study addresses the mosaic structure of the Swedish religious landscape taking into account the cyclical dynamics of replacement of Protestantism by Islam. The methods we created make it possible to identify further trends in the Sweden’s religious landscape. This study adds to results of the complex sociological and demographic studies of the confessional structure of the Swedish population.

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