Relational identities on EU borderlands: the case of Poles in Belarus and Belarusians in Poland

Claire Wallace* (Corresponding Author), Natalka Patsiurko

*Corresponding author for this work

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The paper argues that the well-known triadic relationship between kin state, resident state and national minority needs to take into account a fourth dimension: that of European institutions. This is illustrated through a study of relational identities on the EU’s Eastern border where the reconfiguration of ethnic relations followed the end of the iron curtain and EU accession. It considers two neighbouring ethnic minorities. One minority is part of the EU – the Belarusians in Poland – and the other is not part of the EU – the Poles in Belarus. The paper argues that the intersection of these four relational dimensions result in contrasting kinds of ethnic identification for the two minority groups leading to either fluidification or solidification under different circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2017



  • ethnic
  • minorities
  • Poland
  • Belarus
  • Eastern Europe

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