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Benevolent assistance and cognitive colonisation: Nordic involvement with the Baltic states since the 1990s
Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES). Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Swedish Language.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7967-7855
2015 (English)In: Histories of Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding in the Nordic and Baltic Countries: Representing the periphery / [ed] L. Clerc, N. Glover, P. Jordan, Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015, 257-279 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In recent years there has been increased political attention paid to the uses of public diplomacy by different countries for improving their economies, projecting identity, and achieving other policy goals. Within this framework this chapter seeks to explain Nordic involvement in/with the Baltic States in the past two decades. The communicative practice, interactions and building relations among these states provides a case that can be studied with respect to how states or associations of states understand cultures, attitudes and behaviour, build and manage relationships, and influence opinions and actions, which more or less intentionally advance their interests and values.

The analysis in this chapter is anchored in the domain of international relations, with focus on the interdependencies created by the development aid and assistance that the Nordic states granted to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania when they broke free from the Soviet Union. The increasing tendency on the part of the Nordic states to act as agenda setters in the Baltic region is also discussed, which  allows for viewing their actions as active international policy or, to use more contemporary terminology, as skilfully exercised public diplomacy. It proved all the more successful as the Baltic republics desired international recognition and longed to become fully-fledged parts of the West.

The analysis of how norms and agendas propagated by the Nordic countries have become accepted in the Baltic states is pursued here with a working hypothesis claiming that the assumed civilizational achievement of the allegedly superior Western standards, gained from the cooperation with the Nordic states, made the Baltic actors readily accept the infusion of local institutions with Nordic norms, values and practices. The process was rapid and mostly one- directional to the extent that instead of mutual learning, typical for partners that cooperate on equal footing, the Nordic countries carried out an action that I describe as cognitive colonisation of the Baltic elites and publics. This meant that the political landscape and the decision makers’ agendas have been saturated with institutional structures, metaphors and other discursive short-cuts favourable to the Nordic countries – which represented Western Europe – to the extent that they became parts of the taken-for-granted cognitive schemas.Their institutional embeddedness was possible because a symbolic system, garnished with the English language functioning as a lingua francaof the Western civilisation, was transmitted along with the Nordic assistance, which consisted of patterns of behaviour, signs and meanings, delivered together with modes of their interpretation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leiden, Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015. 257-279 p.
Keyword [en]
public diplomacy, Nordic-Baltic relations
National Category
Globalization Studies Cultural Studies Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28797ISBN: 978-90-04-30548-9 (print)ISBN: 978-90-04-30548-6 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-28797DiVA: diva2:874353
Available from: 2015-11-26 Created: 2015-11-26 Last updated: 2016-01-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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