ENRI-East (2008-2011)

The ENRI-East (Interplay of European, National and Regional Identities: Nations between States along the New Eastern Borders of Europe) project was an innovative international collaborative research project on the theme of European, national and regional identities. It was a three-year project (2008-2011) financed by the European Union within the scope of the 7th Framework Programme. The project was coordinated by the Institute of Advanced Studies in Vienna and involved eleven European Institutions and over fifty European scholars.

The main goal of the ENRI-East project was to develop an in-depth understanding of the ways in which the modern European identities and regional cultures are formed and how these are inter-communicated in the Eastern part of the European continent. The research focused on nations and states on both sides of the new Eastern border of the EU. This included the following countries within the border of the EU: Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary and beyond: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine.

It is assumed that issues of identity formation and the negotiation of different identities are more salient in those complex conditions where the states and the nations don’t correspond fully. Therefore, the main target groups of ENRI-East were ethnic minorities ("split nations") living in the countries described above. The project employed both theoretical and empirical research tools. It started with a critical review of literature on identities and verification of existing statistical and sociological data sets. As a next step, ENRI-East designed a series of sociological surveys that should bring new knowledge to the main research themes of the project. A wide range of different methodologies were used, embracing altogether seven types of surveys. Among them were classical methods like a large-scale quantitative survey and qualitative methods like expert interviews and content analysis. But analyzing essays written by teenagers and two innovative and experimental pilot studies (musical survey and musical focus groups) were undertaken as well.

ENRI-East was an inter-disciplinary effort (sociology, political science, history, ethnography) and its methodological thrust comprises theoretical, empirical and comparative aspects.