SILENCING AND AMPLIFYING ETHNICITY IN ESTONIA

Abstract

Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the ethnically divided capital of Estonia, this article1 suggests that the tacit norm of reciprocity and neighbourliness in Tallinn is to silence rather than amplify ethnicity. Silencing ethnicity is a continuous, context-dependent interactional process that includes linguistic strategies, as well as spatial orderings. The article discusses how residents of Tallinn negotiate and sustain distinctions between “Estonian” and “Russian” spheres by replicating particular trajectories and ways of doing things on a day-to-day basis. The ensuing separateness of Estonians and Russian-speakers is part of the local culture more than an expression of antagonism, though the two are not mutually exclusive. The article also reflects on the (im)possibilities of studying ethnic interactions at home.

Keywords

Estonia, ethnograph, everyday multiculturalism, ethnic interactions, Russians-speakers

How to Cite

Seljamaa, E., (2016) “SILENCING AND AMPLIFYING ETHNICITY IN ESTONIA”, Ethnologia Europaea 46(2), p.27-43. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1186

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.

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Authors

Elo-Hanna Seljamaa (University of Tartu)

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