Place identity in the life stories of members of the Latvian diaspora


Place and identity are closely bound up with one another. The two concepts are coproduced as we come to identify with the environment that we live in, and we shape and are, in turn, shaped by that environment. We also carry memories of spaces and places that have formed us. Exploring the ties between place and identity can deepen our understanding of identity formation and the role of place in social and individual development. Place-identity bonds can affect social forms, cultural practices and political actions. This is seen in the efforts of exiled populations to establish roots in their new homes. Place identity is an aspect of individual self-identity and consists of the knowledge and feelings developed through everyday experiences of physical and social space. This is also part of social identity. Both these concepts can help us understand where and why people feel at home as well as why displacement – whether forced or voluntary – may be traumatic for individuals and groups. The study focuses on meanings and experiences of place identity in the life stories of first- and second-generation Latvian exiles, i.e. individuals who left the country during World War II and their descendants. These stories show that the notion of place identity raises two distinct questions: «Where do I come from?» and «Where do I belong?» It is also worth asking how the answers to these questions differ across the generations.

Nov 12, 2020 — Nov 13, 2020
Rīga (Latvija)
Maija Krūmiņa
vadošā pētniece

Vēsturniece, Latvijas Universitātes Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūta pētniece

Maruta Pranka

Socioloģe, LU Filozofijas un socioloģijas institūta pētniece