Каталог статей из сборников научных конференций и научных журналов- Ethnocultural identity: essence research problem

Ethnocultural identity: essence research problem

O. Yu. Kolosova, Doctor of Philosophical Sciences, assistant professor

Stavropol branch of Krasnodar university

of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation,

Stavropol, Russia


Ethnocultural identity is a difficult social and psychological phenomenon which includes:

Firstly, awareness of unity by the individual with ethnonational education (ethnos, nation) on the basis of the divided culture (consciousness) [6, p. 57-58].

Secondly, deep emotional, almost sacral experience of this unity (including emotional memory of people which more often is called mentality). And this is an important circumstance: the identity is in many respects irrational for this reason the interethnic and international conflicts break out so easily and  it is so difficult to control them and even more difficult to run them [8, p. 18–22].

Thirdly, ethnocultural identity includes cultural practices of a demonstration of this unity, both individual and collective [4, p. 118–124].

In the structure of ethnocultural identity at this or that stage of sociocultural dynamics it is possible to find several layers occurring at different times forming its diachronic vertical: patrimonial, ethnic and national identity [16, p. 241].

There are bases to claim that the phenomenon of identity was created historically as a result of subconscious aspiration of the person to overcoming a rupture of an initial syncresis, to streamlining of ideas of the world and the place in the world views [12, p. 282–284].

Since that moment as the pre-person has dropped out of the bosom of the natural world, all subsequent history is noted also by an opposite tendency - the aspiration of the person to overcome this gap and to take new shape of unity with the world around [10, p. 37–40]. These aspirations of the person are reached in the replaced form, by integration into valuable and symbolical space of a society which was at different stages of history kinship, ethnos or the nation.

Thus, the phenomenon of ethnocultural identity in many respects satisfies the most important need of the person is to keep natural communications with the environment [2, p. 142–145]. In a way the ethnocultural identity is a social and psychological mechanism of preservation of syncresis or more precisely, creation of new, artificial, cultural syncresis [13, p. 73–78].

So, ethnocultural identity is a phenomenon with complex internal structure and mobile external borders. Figuratively it can be presented in the form of the turned pyramid which basis is formed by patrimonial identity; the center – ethnic identity (ethnicity) and the top, the widest layer – national identity.

At the same time the allocated layers can be considered as consecutive historical modifications of ethnocultural identity which in the course of historical dynamics didn't deny each other, and developed by the principle of mutually complementarity [5, p. 43–46].

Numerous anthropological researches show that within archaic culture human communities had identity which comprised a considerable ethnocultural resource [11, p. 29–31]. For a reason totemism is the first form of cultural identity fixed in cultural forms of the myth and the ritual. Nevertheless, the cultural features which are rather clearly found from the outside at this stage had no relevance for intra breeding consolidation and identification which basis in archaic social groups was made, of course, by filiation [14, p. 39–44].

While ethnogenesis gave a new historical form of identity – ethnic or ethnicity, real relationship in its structure was gradually replaced by sacral feeling and awareness of unity on the basis of unrelated signs [15, p. 82–89].

At the current importance of the idea of relationship, identification with ethnic group was carried out in the replaced but not its own forms: on the basis of myths about genetic and historical relationship, common language, religion, statehood.

These transformations were fixed, in particular, by means of subject self-indicators which indicated the dominating bases of identity of members of ethnocultural group [9, p. 123–128]. Say if in the archaic tribal communities individuals could appropriate the name of a patrimonial totem, or as in the breeds of the most ancient Slavs – names of legendary or mythical progenitors (for example, vyatichi or radimichi), but in the conditions of ethnic communities the linguistic community could be a basis for self-indicator (on which, for example, self-indicator Slavs is based having the general speech, opposing themselves to all who don't speak it, for example Germans) or confessional (let’s say, in Russia self-indicator Orthodox was used for a very long time, pointing to domination of a religious factor in the structure of identity of the personality).

As for national identity, it should be considered, first of all, as a result of political processes which main objective consisted in cultural unification of the cosmopolitan population living in borders of the national states [7, p. 139–144].  Supposedly, this new historical form by definition had to level traditional types of identity, and first of all – ethnic. However in the course of formation of the national states there were not so much different but additional, expanded bases of social consolidation: uniform political nationality, general economic, legal space [3, p. 80–85].

As the result, national identity keeps both relationship paradigm and ethnocultural bases of social consolidation in the structure, refracting them, however, through a prism of the unified civil identity [1, p. 83–86].

Thus, it is possible to record existence of some steady regularities extremely important for understanding of mechanisms of dynamics of ethnocultural identity at the present stage: at each new historical stage there is not a cancellation, but partial transformation, adaptation and synthesis of the traditional and relevant (priority) identification bases. They do not just replace old one, but coexist, interact, form more complex, hierarchically organized systems. As a result in the asset of  identification bases of subjects of national communities there are results of the developed hierarchical vertical. It means that in many cases people live normally and, what is more important, cotemporary in two or several systems of ethnonational coordinates.


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