9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS02 Dynamics and Complexity of Minority Statuses in Plural Societies

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Immigration and Identity Building II, C3.02

Multiplication, differentiation, hierarchical integration of identities

Identity is considered as the process of symbolic construction of structural conjunctions between individuals. It is means bilateral process: expansion of individuality as "inner reality" of self-identity on the closest circle of those, with whom identity is shared, and at the same time, adoption of shared collective identity. It is not just labeling but its construction is meaning attribution through rationalization, value estimation, affective tinting, and then normative establishing and presentation in things as signs of identity.
Therefore, first, I consider non-primordial identities. Social (structural) identities use "cultural" masks for representation and, at the same time, they are mythologized by latent cultural content.
Second, I accept the idea of individuation as a trend of contemporary societies and communities within them transformation.
The result is visible multiplication of identities. Also differentiation as increasing of number and complexity of structural conjunctions of individuals takes place.
However, the most important process is hierarchical integration of identities. Ambivalent and "plural" identity is indeed integrated by the hierarchy of shared values, konowledge and accepted norms.
The "strong" subjects for this theoretical frame testing are religious minorities. I compare two communities: the Orthodox Old-believers (with special case of Bashkir) and the Vaishnavas (Krishnaits) community in Russia (with focus for Moscow commune. Survey and expert interviews have been used). Religious values and norms structure the social conjunctions of the members of communities in their interrelation within different social institutes: economic, politic, public, education, entertainment, family, spare time. These structuring effects have resulted in the options important and escapable spheres of social activity, modes of interaction, depth of adoption in them.
Therefore, first, the minor community appears to be "open" as number of member of large society, but it is close as identity by shared knowledge, values and norms.
Second, the "communal body" and artificial corporeality are important media for even religious (not only for so called "youth subcultures") identity presentation and, especially, (re)construction.
Third, the strategy of majority toward these identities is their "minorisation" in each separate sphere of interaction with spontaneous or premeditated ignorance the integrity of structural conjunctions by some identity.