Geographical Perspective on Identity Construction: Identification Strategies of Russian Youth in Estonia

By Anu Masso.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a starting point, this paper presents a theoretical premise of the identity concept being in crisis. The paper uses an interdisciplinary approach, combining the social-psychological concept of identity and an initially geographical term space. A conceptual framework is used for analysing dialogical identity, including a combination of spatial practices, representations of space and representational space. Qualitative in-depth interviews are used as an empirical basis for analysing the identity construction patterns of Russian youth in Estonia. The identity patterns regarding one’s individual construction of social space (e.g. cultural contacts, spoken languages, etc.) are analysed. The results of the analysis show a variety of references used for identity construction. The creativity in managing identity references rather than normative cultural openness turned out to be a prerequisite for emotionally significant identification. The identification choices are made on the basis of the perception of collective strategies offered by the Estonian state, the individual creativity and dialogical practices.

Keywords: Social Identity Theory, Social Space, Cultural Openness, Second Language Acquisition, Russian Speakers

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.51-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 666.387KB).

Anu Masso

Lecturer, Institute of Journalism and Communication, University of Tartu, Estonia, Tartu, Estonia, Estonia

My main research interest is personal social space (e.g. distances with different cultures/countries, geo-cultural mobility, identity construction, the role of foreign languages in creation of cultural openness, second language teaching). My second interest is research methods in social sciences, that I teach at the Institute of Journalism and Communication, at the University of Tartu (both qualitative and quantitative). I am currently involved in several local and international research projects and participate as adviser in several implementation projects.

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