Second-generation Lithuanian Immigrants in Norway: Between Lithuania and Norway?

  • Darius Daukšas
Keywords: second-generation migrants, Lithuania, Norway, identity


The article is based on the findings of a field study conducted in Norway from 2008 to 2017. The focus group consisted of second-generation Lithuania migrants living in Norway. Transnationalism is one of the most promising concepts in anthropology in addressing contemporary migration. Transnationalism argues the changing nature of contemporary migration (when compared with the previous waves of migration in history). Contemporary migration is seen as intensive and simultaneous being “here” and “there” (in the country of origin and the host country). However, the identity construction in the second-generation migrants is seen as different if compared with the first generation. Critics of transnationalism see the second generation of migrants as a weak chain theoretically. According to them, previous concepts of assimilation and integration could be employed again in understanding identity construction of the second generation. A short analysis of the data from the field study of the second generation of migrants from Lithuania in Norway raises the question of whether transnationalism is inappropriate to explain the processes in the second generation of migrants. Surprisingly, it is evident that contrary to the claims of the critics of transnationalism, the second generation of migrants does not directly assimilate into the host society (Norway), and Lithuania remains a significant resource of identity. Even if second-generation migrants see themselves strongly connected with Norway both practically and emotionally (active participation in Norwegian society), at the same time Lithuania is considered more as a domain of emotions. In most cases, second-generation migrants seem to be active participants in Norwegian society. They understand Norwegian society better (if compared to the first generation), so it is natural that they want to be formally recognised as Norwegian citizens. To them, Lithuania is a country of holidays, grandparents, and entertainment. However, even in this case, we encounter a certain tension between being a Norwegian and a Lithuanian. The respondents speak of a certain duality or hybridity of identities when one does not want to be entirely Norwegian or entirely Lithuanian. However, although people note that both identities are equally important, they choose to become Norwegian citizens, because Norway is the country where they live and they feel better informed about its current affairs.