Culture In Transitive Space


The article reveals the importance of culture in a modern, changeable, uncertain and multicultural world. It is consider the possibility of further development of the psychology of culture associated with the role of culture and language in a multicultural space in which majoritarian and minority cultures and languages ​​intersect. It analyzes a new understanding of the correlation of language, culture, thinking in the situation of a digital society. Cultural and linguistic identities are considered as key factors determining positive socialization in a multicultural situation. The connection of emotional experience with knowledge about another culture and people is reflected as the most important condition for intercultural communication. A study of the relationship between the native and Russian majoritarian languages ​​was carried out in the Komi and Karelia republics in large cities and small settlements of these republics. The study participants were schoolchildren, students and their parents. The results show that the status of a minority language decreases in urban residents, as well as in young people. At the same time, young people communicate in their native language mainly with elderly family members, but they think mainly in Russian. But beside the spoken language, mainly all respondents identify themselves with native ethnos. New tendencies are shown that determine the formation of a picture of the world in a new digital space. The influence of a generalized and devoid of a specific medium way of transmitting information on changing communication and user identity is revealed.

Keywords: Linguistic identitypsychology of culturesocial networkstransitivity


Modern psychological science is not only multi-paradigm, but also pluralistic, which contributes to its active development both throughout the world and in our country. Currently, different concepts are combined in a sole scientific field: from cognitive science to a humanist-oriented position, from “complitology” (Poddyakov, 2014) to positive psychology. Various versions of domestic and foreign concepts are being developed and structured – Kahneman and Tversky (2000), Csikszentmihalyi (2011), existential psychology (Grishina, 2011), the theory of activity of Leontiev (1975) and philosophical-psychological theory Rubinstein (2012). Of great importance for the modern psychology of culture is the dissemination of neuro-linguistic and physical concepts that connect thinking, creativity, quantum mechanics and the process of information processing by a person. One of the most famous is the theory of organized objective reduction “Orch OR” by Hameroff and Penrose (1996). According to the authors, an organized reduction of brain waves can explain not only the transitions from the unconscious to consciousness, but also the processes of creative thinking.

It seems that such amount of various concepts arise largely due to the fact that our society is currently in a situation of transitivity. The modern situation, characterized as a situation of transitivity (variability, multiplicity and uncertainty) is becoming more and more comprehensive, affecting all generations, spheres of life and social groups. In a transitive society, one must proceed from the fact that the multiplicity of contexts implies, of course, the multiplicity of approaches to the analysis of the psychological content of these contexts. Therefore, the currently observed variety of theoretical and empirical constructs and concepts seems natural. At the same time, the cultural paradigm maximally corresponds to the challenges that science faces in connection with the changes occurring in the situation of globalization and mass migrations. In order to answer new questions and solve new problems facing psychology, the psychology of culture naturally undergoes numerous transformations and modifications of its original problems and provisions.

Problem Statement

The actualization of the problem of cultural and linguistic identity, culture and language, as important components of the cultural field of people, is associated with both social transitivity and the expansion of interpersonal and intergroup communication (Martsinkovskaya, 2015b). Globalization and mass migration of people not only push the boundaries of socialization, but also require knowledge of the language of the new social environment, a positive attitude towards the norms and standards of both one's own and another's culture.

In the context of all these problems, the question of the connection between language and thinking, the language of everyday and formal communication is also considered. Changing status of the language of small nations and national minorities entails a change in attitude to the native language, especially among young respondents. They clearly recognize the social status of the mother language, especially after moving to a new place of residence. This leads exclusively in multinational cities, to the emergence of a stigmatized linguistic identity. At the same time, a language that is not even a priority one, remains emotionally the leading parameter of ethnic identity, which leads to a discrepancy between the different functions of the language and, which is especially alarming, to a decrease in socialization in a multicultural environment.

Research Questions

The study examined the attitude to languages and culture among young people living in regions in which both majoritarian and minority nations live and, thus, different cultures and languages coexist. At the same time, among young people of all cultures, a new way of communication is gaining popularity - Internet communication with its own language.

Purpose of the Study

The work aimed to study the relationship between the mother language (minority) and majority, Russian languages and their functions in real and virtual communication.

Research Methods

In the work the following methods were used: the questionnaire "Attitude to different languages” and "Functions of languages" (Martsinkovskaya, 2015a). The participants were young people (N=80, 12-18) and elders (N = 60, 30-45), living in Komi and Karelia regions.

All participants were aware of the purpose of the study and agreed to participate in the work.


Language and culture

To study the cognitive and emotional attitude to the mother language and Russian language, a series of works were carried out aimed at analyzing the role of language and culture in a multicultural society in the Komi republics and in Karelia.

Obtained materials make it possible to reveal the attitude to the native (minority) language and the second, majority language among respondents living in small settlements and multinational cities.

Figure 1: Native language
Native language
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It is interesting that the residents of the Komi Republic, parents, rural and urban schoolchildren, differently determined the status of the Komi language: 60% of parents, 24% of rural schoolchildren and 0% of urban schoolchildren consider it native (Fig 01 .).

Comparing the answers of the schoolchildren living in Syktyvkar and a small settlement in the Komi Republic, the discrepancy between the different functions of the language is especially clearly visible (table 1 ).

Table 1 -
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The discrepancy between the language of communication and thinking is mainly due to the fact that in small settlements, in families where several generations live together or next to each other, the minority language remains the language of communication. At the same time, learning and communication between urban residents takes place mainly in Russian.

In order to reveal the emotional attitude of the respondents to the Russian and second languages, they were asked to answer 2 questions: What is your attitude to the Russian language (-10 0 +10) and what is your attitude to the German / Komi language (-10 0 +10). Data presented at fig. 2 show that the respondents' emotional attitude to the Russian language is much higher than to the second language. This difference is especially pronounced in relation to the Komi language in groups of urban and rural schoolchildren. And you can also notice, the younger the group, the more categorical their answers.

Figure 2: Assessment of the attitude to Russian and second languages
Assessment of the attitude to Russian and second languages
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At the same time, when asked about their ethnicity, all respondents, regardless of age, place of residence, or leading language, referred themselves to their ethnic group, that is, they answered that they consider themselves Komi or Germans. Similar results were obtained when studying the status and functions of the Karelian language in Petrozavodsk and a small settlement in Karelia. Thus, we can say that the majority language is leading in communicating with a wide range of people and in learning, so it also becomes the language in which people begin to think. The emotional attitude to the language changes significantly depending on its status - it remains high for the German language and falls for urban schoolchildren for the Komi and Karelian language due to their ever-decreasing status. At the same time, ethnic identity, which is an important element of socialization in a multicultural environment, is based on the native language, that is, it is associated with linguistic identity, and not the functions of the language. An important fact partially explaining this phenomenology is the identification of the concepts of language and culture among all respondents. This is especially pronounced when moving to another region or another country.

Virtual language and culture

In the modern world, the role of information and informational impact on the motivation and behavior of people of all ages is constantly increasing. It is this fact that allowed scientists to talk about the emergence of the “information society” and “information culture. Moreover, information culture is positioned as a special version of culture, determined primarily by the influence of the mass media, and information is considered as one of the ways of organizing, structuring the image of the world. The depersonalization of information also increases, which often leads to a violation of the harmonious relationship between flexibility and constancy of values.

A new form of speech is also being created. This form incorporates the properties of both dialogic and monologue, both external and internal forms. A new language appears, connecting figurative, verbal and symbolic languages. No less interesting is the fact that word-making is now becoming more widespread, and the expansion of the space for the use of new words leads to the codification of their internal form and its translation into Internet meaning. Thus, the materials obtained show the influence of the Internet on a language that is unified under the influence of a formal Internet language. A new type of text is being formed on the Internet - hypertext, which can be repeatedly transformed and interpreted thanks to hyperlinks. The peculiarity of hypertext is not only the “clipping”, but also the ability to structure and restructure information consisting of separate gestalts that are interconnected and, at the same time, are independent of each other. We can also see that the information flow also sets new possibilities for operating information and exchanging it with others.

The fact that the image of the world of modern, primarily young people is largely based on the information that comes from the virtual space, allows us to talk about the connection of ideas about the world and about themselves, which are formed on the Internet and in society. Moreover, the use of the Internet language does not depend on the age and ethnic and linguistic identity of a person, but only on the degree of operational Internet socialization.


The results showed a close connection between the ideas about language and culture that exists among the majority of respondents. It should be noted that this connection is actualized in most people in a situation of severe transitivity, in particular, when changing sociocultural situation. The fact that culture is identified with language leads to the fact that a lack of knowledge of a foreign language is the reason for low socialization in the new situation. On the contrary, raising the status of culture (both one's own and another's) is an important factor helping acculturation in a new place of residence.

Thus, we can say that in a situation of rigid transitivity, the need for emotional protection and comfort increases, and linguistic identity and culture as a whole begin to perform this function, which was absent in a situation of liquid, soft transitivity. Therefore, mixed linguistic identity is a positive factor that enhances socialization in a multicultural world.

Particularly difficult is the attitude to the native and foreign languages ​​for people living on the borders of several cultures. This ambivalence manifests itself most clearly when the mother language is minority. In this case the difference between the emotional and cognitive factors of the linguistic component of a person’s general sociocultural identity can be clearly seen. A comparison of the responses of different groups of respondents shows that the emotional attitude to the language (that is, recognition of one’s native language) does not always coincide with the cognitive component, which, in particular, is determined by the language they speak and think. The results obtained prove that it is the attitude to language that shows the real role of linguistic identity in the structuring of common identity in a multicultural society.

The obtained materials showed that in modern transitive reality, in which significant migratory changes are occurring, transforming both the social and personal spaces of many people, the main parameter of linguistic identity is not the need for a native / foreign language and not knowledge of these languages, but the attitude towards them, emotional experience.

The study of new interconnections between languages ​​and thinking, especially in the context of the new Internet language, is becoming more and more popular, as well as an analysis of the role of modern Internet culture in the development of ideas and attitude towards the world around.


The study was supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 19-313-90026.


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15 November 2020

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Psychology, personality, virtual, personality psychology, identity, virtual identity, digital space

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Martsinkovskaya, T., & Preobrazhenskaya, S. (2020). Culture In Transitive Space. In T. Martsinkovskaya, & V. Orestova (Eds.), Psychology of Personality: Real and Virtual Context, vol 94. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 428-434). European Publisher.