The paper argues that the well-known triadic relationship between kin state, resident state and national minority needs to take into account a fourth dimension: that of European institutions. This is illustrated through a study of relational identities on the EU’s Eastern border where the reconfiguration of ethnic relations followed the end of the iron curtain and EU accession. It considers two neighbouring ethnic minorities. One minority is part of the EU – the Belarusians in Poland – and the other is not part of the EU – the Poles in Belarus. The paper argues that the intersection of these four relational dimensions result in contrasting kinds of ethnic identification for the two minority groups leading to either fluidification or solidification under different circumstances.
This work was supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme ENRI-East. Interplay of European, National and Regional Identities: Nations between States on the New Eastern Borderlands of the European Union [SSH-2007- CT-217227].
- Eastern Europe