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|Title: ||Language and identification in contemporary Kazakhstan|
|Authors: ||Munday, Emma Rachel|
|Supervisor(s): ||Ryazanova-Clarke, Lara|
|Issue Date: ||30-Jun-2010|
|Publisher: ||The University of Edinburgh|
|Abstract: ||In the years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union Central Asia has experienced
wide-reaching and ongoing social change. The structures and values of all social
strata have been questioned and re-evaluated in a continuing exploration of what it
means to be part of the post-Soviet space. Within this space, identity formation and
reformation has been a pre-eminent process for individuals, for groups of all kinds
and for the newly emerging states and their leaders.
Through the analysis of individual interviews and selected newspaper extracts and
government policy documents this study explores the ways in which ethnic and state
identities are being negotiated in Kazakhstan. Using the social identity theory
framework it investigates the value and content of these identities by examining the
state ideologies of language and the policies which are their expression as well as the
discourses of language and identity engaged in by individuals and in the media.
There is an exploration of common and conflicting themes referred to as aspects of
these identities, of outgroups deemed relevant for comparison and of the roles of
Kazakh and Russian in particular, alongside other languages, in relation to these
The study focuses on the availability to an individual of multiple possible identities
of differing levels of inclusiveness. The saliency of a particular identity is
demonstrated to vary according both to context and to the beliefs and goals of the
individual concerned. The importance of discourse to processes of identity formation
and maintenance is also described and the interaction between discourse and social
context is highlighted.
The ongoing construction of a Kazakhstani identity is described and the importance
of group norms of hospitality, inclusiveness and interethnic accord observed. The
sense of learning from other cultures and of mutual enrichment is also demonstrated.
However, these themes exist in tension with those of Kazakhstan as belonging
primarily to Kazakhs and of cultural oppression and loss.
The multi-dimensional nature of ethnic identity is highlighted as is the difficulty,
experienced by some, in maintaining a positive sense of ethnic group identity.
Perceptions of the importance of language in the construction of ethnic and state
identity are explored as are the tensions created by the ideological and instrumental
values adhering to different languages in use in Kazakhstan.|
|Sponsor(s): ||Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)|
|Appears in Collections:||Literatures, Languages, and Cultures PhD thesis collection|
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