We are participants of ever changing peripherization. A growing external control over social sciences has been spotted lately in academic community. This inspires to investigate a Lithuanian case on the discourse of regional governance in order to understand the impact of social research methodology in the processes of peripherization. With the intention to deemphasize domination, the article describes eleven stories designed for constituting methodological meanings of regional governance (RG) arrived at while reflecting upon public, academic and legal written texts. Texts were chosen to illustrate variety of international and national discourses, which manage the chain of reasoning on RG. The article ends with some insights on understanding RG and its methodological roots associated with three sets of principles drawn from qualitative research, quantitative research and discourse research.
The human beings use to ascribe themselves and others to certain groups and dividing world for ‘them’ and ‘us’. We should rethink the role played by ethnicity concept in social sciences, common sense knowledge and practice in contemporary world. But the turn from ethnic or national identities to other ones is just the first step in my opinion. The second step in the same direction is to try to answer the question: does it really make sense for sociologists and anthropologists to investigate identities or we rather have to investigate people’s action and their behaviour? Moreover, if only we agree on these points we have to re-think the role that scholars play in the process of interpretation of the world by modern people, because the interpretations that we produce as ‘experts’ do not exist only in an ‘academic world’. They are in use by ordinary people as well as by politicians, and that is why those interpretations have visible practical consequences. Hereby I would like to discuss possible alternatives to ethnically based understandings of the issues of the ‘ethnicity’, ‘identity’ and ‘multiculturalism’. I’ll start with the description of the research experience that made me concerned about the issues pointed out.
Social or Cultural Anthropology, in the Western sense, is little known territory in parts of contemporary East Europe. It is the case in Lithuania where biological anthropology traditionally claims the term anthropology for itself. Lithuanian ethnology and sociology partially fill the void normally covered by anthropology. There were definite political, academic and practical factors that stunted the growth of anthropology in Lithuania. The aim of this article is to identify these factors, and to define the sphere and the field of research and instruction, that should be allocated to anthropology. I seek also to present the case for an urgent need of the discipline to be established in the educational, research and applied frontiers of contemporary Lithuanian society. It has been even more complicated to establish the importance and capability of socio-cultural anthropology as a separate field of endeavour vis-à-vis Lithuanian ethnology. While socio-cultural anthropology in the West examined the other and otherness, there was no political interest for a newly independent nation-state in a discipline with a wrong focus.
The glance at the classical anthropological perspectives implies that the concept of ‘region’ was often tied to the environment and used mainly as a comparison unit and there were fewer intentions to try to discover the internal aspects of a ‘region’. The ideas of the contemporary scholars give a new room for the discussions about the connections between different territories, regions, concepts of local/global, homogeneity/heterogeneity, place, space/time etc. Generally, the article strives to prefigure possible ‘framework’ for the concept of ‘region’ and main elements as well as problems of its definition, and its application possibilities in the anthropological studies. The term ‘region’ is often occurring both in everyday and academic languages. But the question is, if it is possible to describe what kind of content is framed within the word ‘region’, because it does not have its own exact definition. Still it is usual to relate the term ‘region’ with geographical terms of various kinds of territories, for example, area, place, site, city etc. The scholarly discussions about globalization, its elements and processes influence perceptions of different territorial units and start questioning their stability and fixity.