ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

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nyomtatható változat

Eva-Liisa Linder: Globalization vs Nationalism in Contemporary Estonian Theatre


Date: 14.05.2018, 15.00-16.30

Place: Department of Finno-Ugric Studies, Eötvös Loránd University, Múzeum krt/i, room 029



Estonian theatre is contributing vigorously to the social discussion on national identity that has revived at the age of migration. The dichotomy of globalization and nationalism is heating tensions not only in American and European politics, but encouraging public debates on national values in small Baltic countries.

Estonia is an example of a tiny nation state searching for its identity in the conflicting historical experiences affecting Eastern Europe and Nordic countries: socialism and capitalism, ethnic and civic nationalism, local and global village, places and non-places, mythical past and modernizing future.

Consequently, two prevailing concepts of national identity have recently emerged in Estonia:
1) e-Estonia as an advanced digital society, which provides innovative service of e-Residency for a digital nation of global citizens – thus following the idea of imagined communities by Benedict Anderson;
2) Organic Estonia as a country proud of its traditional culture and intact nature, regarding ancient forests and bogs as the symbols of Estonia and greeting the image of giant boulders as the country’s new visual brand, thus corresponding to the theories of geographic, ethnic and cultural nationalism as described by Hans Kohn and Anthony D. Smith.

The theatrical analyses of Estonian identity crisis surpass in their scope and depth the ones presented by politicians and daily media. A number of productions from last decade discuss globalization versus nationalism using strategies of documentary, devised and applied theatre. However, their focus is varied: 1) emigration, 2) immigration, 3) the conflict of traditional culture and culture industry, etc.

The presentation will follow the changing attitudes from national conservatism to antixenophobia in the scenic studies by the help of theories of nationalism and critical theory of the Frankfurt School.


Short bio

Eva-Liisa Linder is a theatre researcher and lecturer at the Drama School of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. She holds an MA in theatre studies from the University of Tartu and is a PhD student at Tallinn University School of Humanities, conducting research on the national stage in contemporary Estonia, in a comparative study of Estonian and European political theatre practices. As a freelance editor and critic, she has edited collections on theatre history and pedagogy and published several articles.