The essay introduces the Gramscian concept of hegemony to the study of identity politics, with a special focus on the distinction established by Jean and John Comaroff between hegemony and identity. The case of Catholic identity in Lithuania is used as an illustration why identity politics tend to fail when they are perceived to serve the ends of ideology rather than creating a hegemonic consensus.
In this article I present the rudiments of a theoretical approach to the religious field in Lithuania. These reflections are part of an ongoing process of designing a research project on religious and moral pluralism. Religious pluralism is a fairly recent feature of East-Central European societies. When religion was suppressed by the socialist regimes after World War II, the church, especially the Catholic Church, be-came part of a polarized social experience built upon the dichotomy of the state versus the unified nation. In many countries the church established itself as the guardian of a national Christian tradition and claimed a moral monopoly on people’s values. Appearing as gross oversimplifications, presented in the article theoretical reflections can serve as helpful stepping-stones in the process of combining theoretical models and grassroots ethnography.