Perspectives on Cultural Memory and Security in Lithuania Since the Ukraine Crisis

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 356 (University of Glasgow)
Frances Harrison , Anthropology, Binghamton University
“Russian aggression,” has been the topic of popular media’s headlines, foreign policy debates, and politicians’ agendas in Eastern Europe ever since the Ukraine crisis began in 2013, and especially after the annexation of Crimea in March 2014. Reactions to the crisis have been political and economic in character, but are often over-simplified in popular news in a way that masks deeper security issues. Security concerns over neighboring states’ vulnerability to Russia have caught the attention of the West as well, particularly through NATO and its backbone, the United States. Interestingly, the Baltic States, with Lithuania at the forefront, were the first in line to call for increased NATO protection, resulting in U.S. military training and support bases at each of the three state borders.  As headlines continued throughout 2015 to illustrate Russian encroachment in the Baltic as something to fear, this paper was inspired by an anthropological necessity to uncover the social context in which security concerns are constructed and implemented. It stands as a sociocultural exploration of how “security” is defined and received by the general Lithuanian public, what it meant historically, and the significance of cultural memory in shaping its existence and lived experience today. It holds that “security” runs deeper than state-made foreign policy choices, and as such functions as the beginnings of a larger ethnographic project to analyze civil society, security, and political reorientation in Lithuania since the Ukraine crisis.
  • Harrisonf_DRAFT paper CES Glasgow 2017.pdf (210.5 kB)