The "Return to the West" Thesis: The Ideologem of "Global Lithuania" and Its Effects on the Social Sciences in Lithuania
"Lithuania’s return to the West” thesis is one of the central ideological tenets of the national progress strategy "Lithuania 2030“. This article is dedicated to the analysis of this thesis and its effects on the current state of social sciences in Lithuania. The ideological influence of the thesis on the development of the social sciences in Lithuania is manifest in the efforts directed towards "europeization“ and "westernization “ of the social sciences, as well as in the “deconstructive” attitude towards the central ideological principles underlying the Lithuanian nation state. A lack of critical attitude towards “Lithuania’s return to the West” thesis has resulted in a high degree of ideological dogmatism in the social sciences. Due to strong ideological bias, the social scientific research programmes in Lithuania often fail to provide objective and comprehensive accounts of the global and geopolitical processes that pose new challenges to the Lithuanian state, thus failing to offer constructive and implementable solutions to the real social, cultural and economic problems faced by Lithuanian society and the Lithuanian state. The article suggests a fundamental revision of the principles underlying the social scientific research in Lithuania, as well as some of the principles which could serve as conceptual building blocks for the new research paradigm.
Key Words: "Return To the West Thesis“, postcommunist transformation, liberal democracy, globalization