Journal Article

Diverging views on integration in Estonia: determinants of Estonian language skills among ethnic minorities

Kulu, H., Tammaru, T.
Journal of Baltic Studies, 35:4, 378–401 (2004)


The restoration of independence in 1991 brought the topic of ethnic integration into the forefront of societal discussions in Estonia. Two diverging views emerged about the factors that shape the process. Demographic view stresses the long term (generations-related) perspective and factors that do not depend on people themselves. Sociological view emphasizes the importance of individual choices and values in the new political and economic context. The aim of this article is to study the arguments of both views. We analyze the determinants of Estonian language skills among ethnic minorities of Estonia. Our analysis shows that the demographic factors create a favorable context for the improvement of Estonian language skills of ethnic minorities, but the sociological factors (especially education) together with the geographical ones (location in Estonia) have a critical role, especially from the perspective of future integration policies.
Keywords: Estonia, ethnic minorities, integration, multivariate analysis
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