Vytautas Kavolis

was a Lithuanian-American sociologist, cultural historian, social thinker, and professor at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania until his death in 1996. He founded and served as an editor of the Lithuanian-American journal Metmenys, was a board member of Kulturos barai, and was author of more than a dozen books published in the US and Lithuania.


“My anticipation of simultaneous thrusts toward revitalization of tradition and toward orientation to humanity poses special problems for the West and Islam.” In a prescient essay from 1988, the late Lithuanian sociologist Vytautas Kavolis argues for the centrality of the concept of “civilization” in debates on postmodern global conditions.

“Like religion, nationalism operates optimally in a democratic setting when it is distributed over a range of political organizations and over a series of cultural programmes, the two distributions far from coinciding with each other, and not divided rigorously along the lines of ‘majority’ and ‘minority’ groups.” An essay by the late Vytautas Kavolis, in which the Lithuanian-American sociologist argues that the idea of the nation retains its validity alongside the processes of modernization and globalization.

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