Bordering and de-bordering: the Russian speaking community in Estonia
The Purpose of this MA thesis is to explain the nuances between those communities that live along the borders of Estonia & Russia and Estonia & Latvia. The connecting thread between these communities is that they are divided by the international borders and yet share family and/or cultural ties across the border. Moreover, they are different in the ways in which they are integrated into the Estonian socio-cultural milieu. Therefore, this research aims to explain the difference between these communities and how nuances in bordering and de-bordering practices of these communities influence the security narratives of Estonia. Methodology of this work is grounded on an ethnographic study of these communities using photographs and text as research material. I use visual autoethnographic studies, which is entrenched in the positionality of the researcher (Bleiker, 2019) as a participant and a witness and thus explain things that are unseen. Photographs from the fieldwork are used in conjunction with the words of the members of the community. Therefore, from a methodological perspective, in this study, I aim to explore the possibilities of using photographs in political science research. From a conceptual standpoint, in this thesis I utilize three different pillars: social constructivism, hegemony, and cultural semiotics to analyze the empirical data - interviews and photographs - obtained from the fieldwork to explain the nuances in social-cultural practices of these communities situated on the borderlands of Estonia.
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