Ethnographic Research in Soviet Latvia – The Source of a Stronger National Identity

  • Anete Karlsone University of Latvia


This article provides an insight into ethnographic research during the Soviet occupation of Latvia, viewed in the context of national self-consciousness. Ethnographic research in Soviet Latvia was conducted by the ethnographic sector at the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (LSSR). By successfully using phrases appropriate to the political situation as well as the right quotations from Soviet ideological works, it was possible to maintain ideas and attitudes developed in interwar independent Latvia, for example, regarding Latvian national costume – in the works of Mirdza Slava. In turn, Aina Alsupe managed to carry out substantial new studies of the history and development of weaving in Latvia, and collect materials on the development of applied art in Soviet Latvia. The studies conducted by both Alsupe and Slava allowed researchers to keep applied folk arts and the folk costume topical, and in doing so to help maintain Latvian cultural identity.

Author Biography

Anete Karlsone, University of Latvia
Institute of Latvian History
How to Cite
KARLSONE, Anete. Ethnographic Research in Soviet Latvia – The Source of a Stronger National Identity. Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics, [S.l.], v. 13, n. 2, p. 48–70, nov. 2019. ISSN 2228-0987. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 27 mar. 2023.
Articles (special issue)


ethnography, Soviet Latvia, Mirdza Slava, Aina Alsupe, folk costume, textile history