Кривых Сергей Викторович
Институт дизайна, прикладного искусства и гуманитарного образования, Санкт-Петербург
ректор, д.пед.н., профессор

Рост этнического самосознания народов России в условиях современной парадигмы общественного развития характеризуется рядом особенностей, которые проявляются также в культурной и образовательной сферах жизни. С изменением социальной, экономической и идеологической ситуации, этнографической картины нашей жизни изменяется и место нашей народной культуры и ее этнопедагогическая направленность.

Ключевые слова: этническое самосознание личности


Krivykh Sergei Viktorovich
Institute of design, applied arts and Humanities, St. Petersburg
Rector, Doctor of pedagogical Sciences, Professor

Growth of ethnic consciousness of the people of Russia in the conditions of a modern paradigm of social development is characterised by a number of features which are shown also in cultural and educational spheres of a life. With change of a social, economic and ideological situation, an ethnographic picture of our life the place of our national culture and its ethnopedagogical orientation changes also.

Рубрика: Психология

Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Кривых С.В. The development of a person’s ethnic self-consciousness // Гуманитарные научные исследования. 2014. № 2 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: https://human.snauka.ru/2014/02/5913 (дата обращения: 14.05.2024).

Ethnic self-consciousness and polycultural[1] education are considered to be a foundation of an international relations’ culture formation. That is why we’ve decided to scrutinize their problems. At the same time the national education development is a source, a reserve, a condition, a form and means of national culture development. In modern conditions Russian people’s education has turned from a passive structural component of a regional educational system into its subject. The subject is called upon to solve modern educational aims, carrying out the educational society order in a versatile way according to the national, cultural and economic problems that are being solved.

Growth of ethnic self-consciousness of the Russian people in the conditions of a modern paradigm of a social development is characterized by a number of features which are also shown in cultural and educational life spheres. The place of our national culture and its ethno pedagogical orientation changes together with the changes of social, economic and ideological situation and the ethnographic picture of our life.

Growth of ethnic education development need coincides with the similar problems in world educational process. Having made a comparative analysis of the educational realities and foreign experts published works about educational problems inGreat Britain, the USA,Spain,Indiawe were convinced of the fact that a tendency of educational ethnic maintenance is peculiar to a majority of modern polyethnic states. The educational system may become simultaneously an effective mechanism of ethnocultural identification of a person and harmonization means of interethnic relations in the conditions of world processes and cultural convergence enlargement. Last decades polyethnic states have become a scene of immense political shocks and large-scale violence.

There are two terms in the scientific literature: “ethnic identity” and “ethnic self-consciousness”. V. J. Hotinets (1) asserts that the feeling of belonging to a group, defined by English-speaking scientists as “ethnic identity”[2] differs a little from “ethnic self-consciousness” interpretation. Nowadays the question about the terms’ identity and-or differentiations is really problem for the sciences engaged in their scrutiny and demands through methodological and theoretical examination. A term “ethnic self-consciousness” is characteristic for the Russian-speaking researches. And it is more acceptable to ethno pedagogical researches.

The problem of ethnic self-consciousness formation is difficult and contradictory especially in modern socio-cultural conditions, however it is necessary to understand the terms clearly to solve it by educational means.

The ethnic belonging is not at all “illusive self-consciousness”, it plays the role of a community important linking power. We consider it is necessary to examine some indicators of a persons’ comprehension his ethnic belonging, scrutinizing specificity of ethnic self-identification process. Certainly the indicators are different for different social groups but we have tired to sort out only the main ones.

The concept of self-consciousness, made up in the European culture, was considered only as an immanent inner subjects’ activity, coming from the spirit depth, as a consideration of a subject learning itself, i.e. comprehension of its own mental features and qualities. The second line of the ethnic self-consciousness conception development is connected with the definition of its social determination. One of the first attempts to mark the social self-consciousness factor out belongs to anAmericanpsychologistU.James (2).

Along with “Ego physical” and “Ego spiritual” in the person’sstructureU.James gives a place to “Ego social” which characterizes the aspect of a person’s self-consciousness depending on his knowledge of other people psychological features. Thus “Ego social” is connected with the people around one, whose opinion he has to take into consideration. A French psychologist P. Jean (3) timed the self-consciousness development to the process of the people social interaction who were united into different social communities with the purpose of useful activity realization. In Jean’s opinion, “a person, regarding to himself, aspires to reproduce such behavior that he practices regarding to other people, reacting to his own actions in the social way, thereby, cooperating with himself”.

An American scientist G.H. Mid (4) thought that a social self-consciousness’ determination could not be reduced only to a system of impersonal interrelations and thus had to include wider mutual relations of an individual with micro-, meza-, macro groups, considering the individual relation to his vital activity, culture and other social institutions at the same time. On that ground self-consciousness is connected with a person’s awareness of himself as a representative of one or another human community, one or another social group, culture. Thus cultural-ethnic tendency of self-consciousness theory research begins. The research was provoked by scientists, philosophers, thinkers’ interest to ethno cultural community.

Under the circumstances there is a deep necessity to study the range of the problems; different assessments of understanding and definition of a term “self-consciousness” (the complexity of which in some theories in ignored) simplifies, being substituted for other definitions. Such assessments enhance the currency of the theoretical analyses of the definition in the context of its historical development. The simplified understanding of self-consciousness exclusively as “Ego-conception” has lead to one-sided researches paying attention only to a factual side of the difficult phenomenon and mechanisms of its development.

The structure of self-consciousness is forming in temporal and social spaces. Those components of self-consciousness that provide emotionally positive individual attitude towards himself are formed primarily (the attitude is formed at the first stages of ontogenesis especially by individual’s relatives). They are the primary sections of a self-consciousness’ structure, can be defined as a pretension to:

1)      a recognition of one’s “Ego” as one’s name, one’s physical qualities and one’s inner physical essence;

2)      a social recognition;

3)      a recognition of one’s essence as a sex representative, i.e. sexual identification. This sphere is of primary self-consciousness’ principles. Later on another two sections of self-consciousness’ structure are formed in individual ontogenesis;

4)      temporary self-consciousness formations – the past, the present and the future of a person;

5)      its social space sphere that defines a way of a person’s moral duty formation in a psychological time (the matter is about duty formation to people and to the person himself, and about a person’s rights formation to having the right in the modern world including the right to a duty and self-esteem). In the presence of the same links the structure of self-consciousness has different filling depending on culture, traditions, value orientations.

As a result of generalization of the considered ethnic self-consciousness conceptions we’d like to suggest its definition. Ethnic self-consciousness is a relatively settled system of conscious conceptions and existing estimations of ethno differentiating and ethno integrating signs of an ethnos vital activity. Such components of ethnic reality as ethnonym[3], an origin and the historical past of ethnos members, ethnic territory, language, religion, culture, the economy, that represent elements of various subsystems or spheres of ethnic culture and ethnicity bearers as anthropological an psychological features of ethnos members refer to the signs that perform ethnic duties. As a result of the given system formation a person realizes himself as a representative of a certain ethnic community.

On the grounds of studying psychological and ethnographical and ethno pedagogical literature we have presented a pedagogical interpretation of ethnic self-consciousness person’s genesis.

Thus, through consciousness and understanding, a person achieves senses which are influenced by socio-cultural environment and ethnic values. The result of pedagogic influence is an ethnic-oriented image of a person with features that are laid into activities and relations’ foundation. The pedagogic does have to form the image, having an influence upon ethnic self-consciousness of a person, having answered the questions what to form (features) and how to form (means).

In addition we have exposed criteria and efficiency characteristics of pedagogic influences on a person’s ethnic self-consciousness formation. They are senses, having an influence upon activity and relations of an upbringing subject. There are two traditions applying to the concept “sense”. According to one of it sense is used as a synonym of the term “meaning”. According to another tradition it is considered as a conceptual opposition of meaning indicating an intention, an aim of the author’s statement.

In both cases understanding of the sense in associated with the truth comprehension, but in the first case a truth immanent characteristics advances (reality equivalence) and in the second – its axiological characteristics (correspondence with visions, author’s values).

When there is a necessity to consider a cognizable object there begins its understanding, the existing experience is correlated with the similar past experience; the formed sense image is described with words – is verbalized. By the verbalization of graphic conceptions we pass from the level of continuous thinking to the level of responsive thinking, which operates with differentiated limited semantic units-words and which is guided by logic rules.

Along with desires, aspirations, estimations, emotions, volitional impulses senses refer to the “ideal” substance of a subjective sphere. They are deprived of any characteristics of “materiality”, spatiality, qualitative specificity, perceptional modality. From this point of view recognition can be considered as the simplest act of understanding – it is when an existing experience in correlated with the similar past experience.

A single sense is not more than an abstraction. The only genuine reality is an integral “semantic field” where every sense determines a certain “place” occupying inside the “semantic field”. The senses interpenetrate and are interdependent on each other. Every individual sense comprises a system of senses or is the system itself.

Self-consciousness formation passes several stages correlating with the main mental development stages and the ones of ethnic identity formation. In the process ethnic self-consciousness is formed a little later than other forms of self-consciousness. Three main stages of ethnic self-consciousness development are marked out (5, p. 80-88).

Primary stage is when a person is of preschool and primary school age (5-10 y.o.). The stage is characterized by children’s vaguely community awareness of people of their nationality, amotivational choice of their ethnic belongings, weak ethnic knowledge. It is necessary to have in mind that at this stage of ethnic self-consciousness formation a family plays a great role in ethno cultural information transmission.

Formation of ethnic self-identification follows a principle: “I’m the same as people around me”. From social point of view this period is determinant foe a child. A feeling of creation is being formed in this period. The feeling is an ability to create things and culture items together with other people (children and adults), it keeps in each child a feeling of competence, i.e. free exercise of one’s skills, intellect taking part in activity of social utility of one’s people. Exactly in this moment wide social environment becomes significant for a child, giving him some roles before the child meets the currency of technology and economy.

The second stage of self-consciousness formation begins when a person is of a teenager’s age (11-15). The stage is characterized by conscious attitude towards his ethnos. Teenagers are interested in their history and culture and in the ones of other people. There is formation of a conceptions and estimations’ system about ethno cultural and ethno physiological peculiarities of one’s community in comparison with inoethnic[4] environment at this stage. Formation of ethnic self-identification follows a principle: “I’m the same as my nation”. It’s necessary to take into consideration the fact that new formations occur at the period of a teenager’s “identity crisis” (6, p.322), when a matured organism gets an individual appearance; when a formed sexuality searches for partners for sensual games and procreation.; when a completely developed consciousness begins considering an individual career in the context of historical outlook. All these development processes are revealed in multitude of conflicts. Psychosocial identity confusion followed by role confusion, strong doubts about one’s place in a social group, hopelessness of one’s life prospects are alienation of this period. Teenagers from ethnic minority families under discrimination conditions face greater difficulties. They deeper feel their alienation from a society as they don’t feel its support. Self-alienation is felt deeper that alienation. Estrangement from one’s own “Ego” can be explained by a low level of self-consciousness, which, in turn, can be a discrimination consequence. According to world experience of international relations ethnic minorities can be discriminated during a long period of time (7, p. 495-496).

A favorable result of the crisis leads to a teenager’s awareness the fact that his individual way of world interrelations, assimilation of his experience, a developing configuration of identity by successful synthesis “ego” is one of optimum alternatives of a group self-consciousness that isn’t opposed and isn’t contradicting to a personal one.

The third stage is when a person studies at college (16-17 y.o.). At the stage recognition of ethnic belonging becomes stronger, the motivation of one’s nationality choice is defined, the ethnic outlook is built. Educational process in college, having dedicated influence upon process of a person’s self-consciousness development, upon its ethnic orientation, greatly influences development of youths and girls’ ethnic self-consciousness  at this age. Ethnic self-consciousness at this period forms following a principle: “I’m the representative of my nation”. Ericson (6, p. 322) states that an identity crisis in youth is a crisis of the whole generation and is a test of a society outlook. The society gives a young man an opportunity to attach individual identification ways with the social ones. Alienation of a social ideology leads to irreversible unfortunate consequences. The identity established in this period includes all significant identifications, including the ethnic one, but at the same time it changes them to make a united and cause-and-connection-related whole.

Vyatkin B.A., Hotinets V. J. (8) mark the fourth stage out. The stage is a determinant one of ethnic self-consciousness development of the youth (students) (18-22 y.o.), its reinforcement and consolidation. During studying in high school ethnic young person’s self-consciousness will enlarge a system of his conceptions about the world, will increase his place in it. The student age, according to Ericson, can be attributed to “psychosocial moratorium” (6, p.167), which is a crisis period between youth and maturity. In this period multidimensional difficult processes of gaining mature identity and a new attitude to the world take place in individuality. It is a kind of “delay” given to someone who is not ready to take responsibility or who wants to have some time for preparation. The period is characterized by a selective indulgence from the part of society and by a provocative unconcerned attitude from the part of youth. The period often leads to important but not infrequently passing achievements and finishes with more or less achievements confirmation from the part of society. Ethnic self-identification at this age is formed according to the principle “We” are “them”.

Negative self-identification is typical mainly to young people till they are 30. Pendency of many social, economic and technological problems, dissatisfaction with life and work conditions in the countryside and thus limitedness, narrowness of possibilities to implement one’s potential, life stability absence, future perspectives cause the young people indifference or negativism towards everything that happens beside them. The youth from the countryside don’t have opportunity to change their address, to go to the city for example by reason of adaptation difficulty to urbanized culture conditions.

G. U. Soldatova’s researches (9, p. 339-340) in Tatarstan, Sakha (Yakutia), the Northern Ossetiamake it possible to mark out the fifth stage. It was exposed that people of middle age possess an adequate form of ethnic self-consciousness with a positive kind of self-identification. Most of such people have specialized secondary and higher education, work in public institutions, have an access to modern manufacturing means in labour activities, perform supervising work. They positively think about interethnic contacts, are actively involved in the process of cooperation with other people in all spheres of vital activity, are tolerant to marital partnership and friendly relations with people from inoethnic groups. Showing genuine feelings of national dignity, most part of them aspire to influence in a construction way course of economic, politic and other social processes in their ethnic territory, using all their potential.

In conclusion we’d like to mention that peculiarities of development and display of ethnic self-consciousness are determinated not only by a person’s ethnic self-cidentification formation stages but depend on a regional specificity caused by a peculiarity of society ethnogenesis, social and economic, migratory, political processes, historical and culture features of a region, ethnic situation, etc.

[1] Polyculturalism is a concept which asserts that all of the world’s cultures are inter-related. It is thus opposed to the concept of multiculturalism, which its supporters argue is divisive. Polyculturalism was the subject of the 2001 book Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity by Vijay Prashad. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyculturalism)

[2] We suggest using the term as “ethnic self-identification”.

[3] From Russian it is translated as a thing that can name itself.

[4] Inoethnic means surroundings by other ethnoses.

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