Religious Minorities in Post-Soviet Lithuania: Some Aspects of Social Exclusion

Friday, July 18, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: Harbor Lounge B
Oral Presentation
Milda ALISAUSKIENE , Faculty of Social Sciences, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania
The paper discusses the aspects of social exclusion of religious minorities within homogeneous religious field of post-soviet Lithuania. Academic literature states that main agent of social exclusion is considered to be the society. Social exclusion of religion manifests in governmental and spatial spheres and on the individual level through religious discrimination.

The paper is based upon the data of research that was conducted in 2012 in Lithuania. It consisted of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and survey of religious minorities (N=372). The research data allows stating that in the governmental and spatial spheres the regulation of activities of religious communities in Lithuania reveals the privileged position of Roman Catholic Church and other so-called traditional religious communities. At the same time so-called non-traditional religious communities are marginalized, dislodged to the peripheries of public life. According to research data, on the individual level members of non-traditional religious communities experience religious discrimination through stigmatization, psychological and physical violence.