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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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Introduction

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1. Research subject

The project “Ethnic Minorities of Central and Eastern Europe in the Internet Space: A Computer-Assisted Content Analysis” (or ENRI-WEB) is an integral Part of ENRI-East, an investigation of identity formation and evolution of ethnic minorities along the new Eastern EU borders. ENRI-WEB studies the identity of 12 ethnic minorities in 7 countries. These minorities include Russians in Latvia (ruLT) and Lithuania (ruLV), Ukrainians in Poland (uaPL) and Hungary (uaHU), Belarusians in Poland (byPL) and Lithuania (byLV), Poles in Ukraine (plUA), Lithuania (plLV) and Belarus (plBY), Hungarians in Slovakia (huSK) and Ukraine (huUA), and Slovaks in Hungary (skHU). The study’s data base consists of internet resources attributable to ethnic minorities, such as periodicals, news and organizations portals, blogs, forums, resources with postings,1 and personal websites. Units of analysis are text fragments, which are interpreted using simstat/wordstat6.1.2 for qualitative and quantitative research.

The project studies the construction of ethnic identity in the public discourse. Formal (periodicals) or informal (blogs) internet resources provide information about the social activity of ethnic minorities. The point of departure of the study is the question why and how ethnic groups present themselves in the internet. The focus is on a comparative analysis of self-representation of ethnic groups in the internet.

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