Challenges Faced by the Lithuanian State from Regional Identities
Keywords:regional identity, traditional culture, local community, Lithuania, Žemaitija
The article examines how a search for identity attempted by Žemaitians (Samogitians), a Lithuanian local cultural group, eventually evolves into the demand that Žemaitian community should be recognised as an autochthonous nation, and Žemaitian dialect – as a separate language, with all implicit rights. Attempts to implement the idea of a self-governed region as a guarantee of reconstruction and protection of Žemaitian identity is the most recent and vivid representation of such proceedings. Since Lithuania’s accession to EU is increasingly perceived as a threat to cultural identity, other local cultural groups also tend to support the idea of self-governed regions. A suggestion that four self-governed regions covering respective local culture distribution areas should be created in Lithuania is promoted. The authors of such demands, due to a multitude of historical, political, and social reasons, still do not have many supporters in central government bodies, and even in local communities, although in Žemaitija their number is greater.