On 16th of September, 2022 Karolis Dambrauskas will defend his doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Mapping
Ethnicity-Property Nexus: Framing and Negotiating Ethnicity in the Process of Land Restitution in South-
Senior researcher, Dr. Kristina Šliavaitė (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social sciences, Sociology,
The dissertation will be defended at the Council of Sociology Science of Vytautas Magnus University,
Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences and Kaunas University of Technology:
– Prof. Dr. Vytis Čubrinskas (Vytautas Magnus University, Social Sciences, Sociology, S 005)
– Prof. Dr. Jurga Bučaitė-Vilkė (Vytautas Magnus University, Social sciences, Sociology, S 005)
– Senior researcher Dr. Frėjutė-Rakauskienė (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences,
Sociology, S 005)
– Chief researcher Dr. Diana Janušauskienė (Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, Social Sciences,
Sociology, S 005)
– Dr. Neringa Klumbytė (University of Miami, USA, Social Sciences, Sociology – S 005)
The official defense of the dissertation will be held at the meeting of the Council of Sociology at 3 p. m. on 16
September 2022 in the Conference Hall of Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences.
Address: A. Goštauto str. 9, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Annotation of Doctoral Dissertation
The research asked how the relationship between ethnicity and changing property regimes (from collective
to private ownership) was structured in independent Lithuania by focusing on the case of the land restitution
process in the state’s ethnically diverse south-eastern region.
The main findings of this thesis are the following. Restitution was planned as a colour-blind process, in which
every citizen was to receive justice in the form of having his or his family’s land, previously collectivized
during the soviet period, restored to him. Despite ostensibly equal treatment, minorities lacked the equal
resources necessary to participate in the restitution process. Equal treatment of unequal groups hampered
minority members’ efforts to get back their land. Moreover, analysis of the practical implementation of
restitution demonstrated instances, albeit not systemic, of discrimination which members of the minority
groups felt during the restitution process.
In peoples’ accounts of the progress of the restitution process in SEL, these changes correspond to the
multifarious shapes of ethnicity (ethnicity overlapping with such categories as localness and as kinship).
However, the process of restitution was not seen by those who were seeking to have their land returned as
primarily ethnically driven, though there were exceptions. Although the research found that ethnicity had an
effect on the restitution process on a macro level, yet it also demonstrated that on a micro/personal level this
effect may not be recognized.
The thesis demonstrated that, as a result of the limited usage of ethnicity as a cognitive category to interpret
and frame the restitution process, land restitution had a limited impact on reifying ethnic group boundaries in
the region, as far as the participants of this research were concerned.