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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Region-building and nation-building : complementarities and contradictions in the eastern Baltic Fritzell, Leif Erik

Abstract

Although Baltic region-building has drawn considerable attention from scholars, it has predominantly been analyzed as a western European phenomenon. While western European notions of space, identity and security have undoubtedly inspired Baltic regionbuilding, how these projects are perceived and considered in post-Soviet Baltic countries has received little attention. Drawing emphatically from the Estonian context, this thesis focuses on the interplay of region-building and nation-building, paying particular attention to the debates concerning identity and security. In the Estonian case, these two concepts are especially noteworthy because of their conceptually rigid nature. By focusing specifically on Estonia, I highlight the influence and importance of previously constructed concepts of political space and identity upon Baltic region-building efforts. When compared to the open constructions of security and identity maintained by many of the Baltic's region-builders, it is apparent that dominant domestic constructions of Estonia's security and identity are defensively closed. By examining the recent developments and historical evolutions of both Estonian nation-building and Baltic region-building, this thesis offers a more in-depth exploration of the political and societal issues with which region-builders must contend. In this way, I delineate how these divergent constructions of political and social organization and identity interact, influence and continue to overlap and occupy the same political space.

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