This paper depicts the mutability and malleability of the concept of tradition. Its development is illustrated in three examples from modern Latvian history: the Latvian national movement and the program of the cultural and social emancipation of Latvians as a modern people, the issue of tradition and modernity in interwar Latvia, especially during the authoritarian regime, and the confrontation between tradition and the Soviet model of modernisation. The cultural and social emancipation of Latvians as a modern people was a consequence as well as an inseparable part of the modernisation processes of the Baltic provinces and the tsarist empire. The program of the Latvian national movement was defined as an attempt to integrate Latvians into the changing social and cultural conditions not only in the traditional Baltic provinces, but, at the same time, the assertion of a modern nation within the wider context of the tsarist empire. The second section examines the issue of tradition and modernity in interwar Latvia, especially during the authoritarian regime, which single-mindedly and systematically attempted to justify historically the statehood of the young country of Latvia. The final section characterises the Soviet model of modernisation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.