Geografie 2000, 105, 190-200

Mapping Silesian Identity in Czechia

Tadeusz Siwek1, Jaromír Kaňok2

1Ústav pro výzkum polského etnika, Philosophic Faculty of Ostrava University, Dvorákova 7, 701 03 Ostrava, Czechia
2Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czechia

The aim of the article is to investigate the degree of regional identity among inhabitants of the historical Czech land Silesia, to compare it with the available census data and to draw a cognitive map of Czech Silesia, that means mapping how Silesians themselves imagine their region. A general mental map of Silesia was drawn on the basis of individual respondents' maps. The map shows the core, domain and peripheral areas of the Czech Silesia in the minds of its inhabitants. This method was combined with interviews aimed at establishing respondents' sense of regional identity. The sense of Silesian identity is relatively strong among elderly people. It is quite weak among the young and - surprisingly - among the educated people. As every regionally based sentiment, Silesian identity is confronted with forces of globalisation now.