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Ethnic Minorities of Central and Eastern Europe in the Internet Space

A Computer-Assisted Content Analysis

Olga Alekseeva and Hans-Georg Heinrich

After the EU-accession of Eastern and Central European countries, the nations and ethnicities in this region face a re-definition of their cultural, social and political roles. Ethnic Minorities of Central and Eastern Europe in the Internet Space deals with the identity formation of twelve ethnic minorities in seven countries along the border of the European Union. Ethnicities in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia as well as Belarus and Ukraine are considered. The project attempts a new methodological approach to the topic of ethnic identity through a qualitative and quantitative content analysis of the internet resources attributable to ethnic minorities. It consists of two larger parts: the methodology of data collection and the results of data analysis. The data bank of the internet resources provides an overview of the empirical basis of the study.
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The content analysis of the internet presence of twelve Eastern and Central European minorities identified the major themes addressed (or the eligible themes not addressed) by internet users who can be attributed to the various ethnic groups. To a certain extent, the results are confirmed and corroborated by other studies in the framework of ENRI-East and can thus be generalized to apply to the minorities as such.

ENRI-WEB strived to analyse factors which determine the modern notion of ethnic minority. The study analysed notions like cultural and historical heritage of ethnic minorities, “self-experience” of minorities among other ethnic groups, and not least, minority rights, attitudes to the mother and host countries as well as the economic situation of different ethnic minorities.

The ethnic landscape is a living and moving sphere. Emerging nations seek their way to consolidation and independence. Ethnic identity is formed by factors like language, religion, culture, history and education. Civil activity – as a “driving force” – helps to promote these identification factors.

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