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Socio-political problems of Kazakh language and ethno-cultural symbolism of Kazakhstan

17 September 2013
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This article is aimed to detect the influence of linguistic processes on Kazakhstan’s national identity. Firstly, we are interested in socio-political problems of Kazakh language, connected with the determination of its place in the system of Kazakh ethno-cultural symbolism and its claim to status of nation-wide Kazakhstan’s symbolism.

Post-Soviet states, which are mostly multy-ethnical and multy-cultural societies, today face the problem of formation of national identity, which supposes the coincidence of political and cultural societies, united by the common system of institutes, symbols and values. That is why, according to the position of ethno-cultural symbolism, the construction of the united system of symbols, serving a basis of integration of multy-ethnic society, it has a crucial importance for the formation of Post-Soviet national identity.

If the initial point of evolution of national identity and political culture of post-Soviet society falls at the soviet period, then it means that the beginning of defining them socio-cultural and ethno-cultural symbolism refer to the same period. The case in point is the system of symbols, determining semantic content of main ideas, values and meanings of national identity and political culture. Evolution of post-Soviet national identity can be traced and understood through the analysis of the evolution of ethnic and cultural symbolism of the Soviet era, as well its main trends, internal contradictions, dividing lines and related socio-political and cultural processes.

National identity has political and cultural dimension. The last one is the aspect of national identity, which appears as a result of development of symbols and values of the national culture by representatives of the nation. From the perspective of semiotics, culture has a symbolic nature, as a culture, including ethnic and national, can be represented as a set and a system of symbols. Identifying himself with the nation a man identifies him with its culture and, therefore, identifies him with its values and symbols. If the members of a particular ethnic or national group share a common attitude to certain symbols, treating them as their own, then they feel that they are members of a single whole, i.e., they have a common ethnic or national identity. This means that ethnic or national identity has cultural and symbolic nature. Shared by members of the same ethnic or national group symbolism is called literature as ethnic and cultural. Development of ethnic and cultural symbolism by elite groups and suggestion of it to ethnic group or nation as a category of identity is crucial to the formation of ethnic or national identity.

National identity and ethnic and cultural symbolism are so closely connected by categories and interdependent with each other. Ethno-cultural symbolism is defined by national identity and national culture containing values and symbols of ancient origin. At the same time, the content of national identity is largely determined by the content of ethno-cultural symbolism, i.e., by that how national elites design symbols and manipulate them to form the identity of their nation. That is why it is necessary to determine the content and condition of Kazakhstan’s ethnic and cultural symbolism to detect the content and status of its national identity.

More information:

Социально-политические проблемы казахского языка и этнокультурный символизм Казахстана pdf

Rustem Kadyrzhanov, Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Religious Studies

Committee of Science, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Almaty)

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