Kjetil Duvold, Sten Berglund and Jokaim Ekman, Political Culture in Baltic States: Between National and European Integration

Published date01 January 2022
Date01 January 2022
Subject MatterBook Reviews
International Studies
59 (1) 106 –109, 2022
© 2022 Jawaharlal Nehru University
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DOI: 10.1177/00208817221076638
Book Review
Kjetil Duvold, Sten Berglund and Jokaim Ekman, Political Culture
in Baltic States: Between National and European Integration (Cham:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), pp. 220, `4,614, ISBN: 978-3-030-21841-1
The basis of the Baltic states’ attitude, values and political orientation since their
independence is shaped by factors such as historical experiences and memory
politics under the Tsarist and Soviet periods, and their geopolitical location
between Russia and major Western European powers. The political culture is
generally defined as a set of attitudes, beliefs and emotions about the nature of
politics in a nation at a certain period. Generally, it is by history, culture and the
ongoing process of the social, economic and political activities of a nation
(Almond & Powell, 1978). Political Culture in Baltic States—a work by Kjetil
Duvold, Sten Berglund and Jokaim Ekman—is an effort to analyse the mass
attitudes, values and political orientation in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. With
seven chapters, it examines issues such as nation-building, European integration,
democratic values and Russian minorities across the Baltic states.
The book revolves around three broad themes—nation-building, state
integration and democracy—which are the central concerns of the people across
the Baltic states before and after their independence. Since the root of the process
of national integration goes to the inter-war period (1919–1939), in analysing the
political culture, the book covers three different periods—independence movement
period, from independence to EU accession and post-EU accession—and observes
six subgroups (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russian minorities in Baltic
countries) of the Baltic population from a comparative perspective. It is a brilliant
effort by the authors to make a comparative study of the political behaviour of
these six subgroups on issues related to national and European integration, and it
has been balanced and inclusive.
The authors explicitly explain the factors that played a significant role in
building political culture in the Baltic countries. The three small Baltic countries
share the same fate in many ways—historical legacy, Tsarist and Soviet occupation
and geopolitical setting—but interestingly, they do not constitute a culturally
homogenous group. The lack of cultural homogeneity led to differences in the
definitions of their political culture. In the introduction, the authors briefly discuss
Baltic countries’ geopolitical locations, ethnic and religious conditions, Soviet

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