The article analyses the results of the research on the problem of social identity. The relevance of the research subject is due to the fact that the reforms carried out in Russia require active civil participation in their implementation, and for this purpose it is necessary to understand the ratio in which individual and social, subjective and collective, are represented in socio-economic transformations, that is, the existence of a basis for forming a multidimensional phenomenon of identity. The authors come to the conclusion that ignoring the process of identity formation creates a threat of failures in economic and political cultural transformations, since new forms of socio-economic relations often come into conflict with the individual’s already established idea of his own ‘I’. It has been established that the formation of a positive social self-identification as a reflection of personal self-awareness is the most important factor in the stable development of modern society and a leading motivating factor in uniting people’s efforts to solve socially significant problems. The authors’ interpretation of the concepts of ‘identity’ and ‘identification’ is given, since in modern science there is no unity in the definition of these concepts. The empirical part of the study is devoted to the analysis of the social identity of inhabitants of the Jewish Autonomous region. The study made it possible to determine the interests of residents of the study area and make predictions about the content of their social activities, reactions to external events.
Keywords: Identity, identification, social identity, self-identity
The nature of the development of public relations, individual and collective behaviour are determined by the properties of the collective identity of subjects of public relations. The process of formation of social identity is usually called social identification. In the process of social identification, the motivation of people’s activities is formed, and purposeful actions are combined to solve socially significant tasks. The degradation of social identity, which can occur due to both objective and subjective reasons, leads to crisis manifestations in any social structure, namely in the family, professional communities, political parties. The study of identity allows us to define social identity as the most important factor in the progressive development of the individual, society and the state, as well as the subject of scientific understanding of the resources of social change.
The reforms carried out in Russia require understanding how individual and social, subjective and collective, national and personal correlate in them (Gorshkov & Tyurina, 2018), that is, taking into account the multifaceted phenomenon of identity. Ignoring this factor leads to failures in economic, political, cultural transformations, since it comes into conflict with the person’s idea of his own ‘I’, which embodies his life ideals, conditions and forms of life activity. The study of identity allows not only to identify the interests of the individual, but also to make predictions about the content of his social activities, reactions to external events. Studying the subject of research requires the introduction of terminological clarity, since in modern science there is no unity in the definition of the concepts of ‘identity’ and ‘identification’. Various scientific schools operate with their own conceptual approaches to this topic. Within the framework of the article, we attach the following meaning to the concepts of ‘identity’ and ‘identification’, i.e. identity is a standard, a scheme, a complex representation of a person about himself, identification is the embodiment of a scheme, a process, identification with someone, something, inclusion of external norms, values, patterns in his inner world, realizing a dynamic stereotype in social behaviour.
The concepts of identity and identification are terms that mostly belong to the psychological sciences. Modern foreign studies of identity as a complex structure are focused mainly on the socio-psychological approach, considering such components as national identity (David & Bar-Tal, 2009; Finell & Liebkind, 2010; Reijerse et al., 2012; Tsukamoto et al., 2013), civic identity (Chilcoat & Ligon, 2000; Marcelo et al., 2007).
The development of identity issues in the situational, current social context as a reaction to the uncertainty and variability of the social world is of the greatest interest for our research (Bamberg et al., 2011; Cote & Schwartz, 2002).
In a sociological context, the use of the terms ‘social identity’, ‘social identification’ is appropriate.
According to experts, the social identity of the modern Russian person is experiencing a deep crisis. The reason for this is globalization, market reforms, and the transformation of traditional structures. As a result, society lost its integrity, since the system of values that were the basis of the worldview of more than one generation, in the new social structure, not only lost its significance, but also discredited. Breaking the once stable ideological attitudes, the loss of socio-psychological statuses of the individual, a change in the practice of habitual communication leads to a fall in moral principles, various manifestations of social deviations.
Under these conditions, a new identity is being formed, directed towards the future, but it does not arise on the basis of the former identity of civil society, but from the emerging modern identity of resistance.
The loss of individual identity often indicates a crisis in social systems.
In these conditions, it is the formation of positive social identification (self-identification) that is the most important factor in the stable development of modern society and a motivating factor in combining people’s efforts to solve socially significant problems. Consequently, without understanding the real interests and dynamics of the community’s value system, it is impossible to achieve the intended strategic goals.
The subject of the study is the attitude of respondents of various age groups from 20 to 65 to social and political facts, phenomena that have formed in the course of socio-economic development of the country and have an impact on the social well-being of citizens.
Purpose of the Study
The aim of the study is the search for sustainable social identities in local communities that accumulate universal values, based on which the strategy for the development of society should be built.
In order to identify the stable identities of the residents of the Jewish Autonomous Region, a sociological study ‘Social well-being of the residents of the Jewish Autonomous Region’ was carried out. The study was conducted by analogy with the sociological research ‘Russian Identity in the Sociological Dimension’ carried out in 1998, 2004 and 2007 by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The study does not claim to be representative of the data, but nevertheless it provides a basis for identifying trends that confirm or, on the contrary, do not coincide with the Russian studies conducted in this area. Four age groups of respondents were identified for the study, namely 18-29 years old, 30-39 years old, 40-49 years old, 50-65 years. The number of respondents is about 200 people.
The study shows that the vast majority of respondents upheld the main key value characteristic of the overwhelming part of Russian society, and that is family. They identify themselves on the basis of family, namely parents, children (on average 32.8%). The lowest percentage of this choice in the age group of 18-29 years old, because this nomination is not yet relevant for the majority of these respondents, so it has reduced the overall indicator.
The next most important identity for the residents of the Jewish Autonomous Region is a Russian citizen. It unites on average 33.7% of the respondents. Moreover, the largest percentage of those who consider themselves to be in this category is in the age group of 40-49 (43%), 50-65 (50%). On the other hand, people of the age groups of 18-29 years old (29%), 50-65 years old (33.3%) think themselves to be Russians.
The working people group is significant characteristic for all age groups except for the people of 18-29 years old, which is quite understandable. For some of them it is still a period of training, for other representatives of this group it is a period of finding themselves in the profession, the lack of experience that would allow them to feel their involvement with working people.
It is interesting to note that the inhabitants of the Jewish Autonomous Region do not acquire a spiritual community with representatives of the same profession or occupation (16.4%), but with workmates (43.7%), i.e., with people who are united by territorial locality, one common goal, interests, and workplace problems.
Emotional dominant in interpersonal relations is confirmed by the fact that residents of the Jewish Autonomous Region experience commonality with people of their generation (40.3%). Moreover, generational ties are the most significant for the older age group (67.6%), the youth group (23.6%) identifies themselves with people of their generation; on the other hand, 53.1% of the youth identify themselves with people who share their views, while this parameter does not matter for the older age group. It is worrying that generational factors are important for young citizens. The confrontation between ‘fathers and children’ is an alarming cultural and social phenomenon: the younger generation forms its system of values in accordance with its needs, the list of basic values of which does not include the moral principles of their fathers. This conclusion is confirmed by young people’s choice of the differences between groups and classes (45.3%) as the most significant generational factor. There is a danger that the vacuum of the intergenerational value-semantic gap will be filled with alien ideologemes, moral principles and values.
Moral principles and values when choosing friends are leading for the age group of 18-29 (88%), while the choice of friends in the middle and older age groups of 30-39 and 40-49 is based on personal, human qualities (89%). Nationality does not appear to be a significant factor in making friends in the middle and older age groups (0%), and only the 18-29-year-old group thinks that nationality is important for them when choosing friends.
Our citizens associate the feeling of homeland mainly with the place where they were born and grew up. Moreover, the ‘smoke of the fatherland’ is associated with the homeland among respondents of middle and older age groups, young people are more pragmatic, the homeland for them is the territory of residence, and the place where they were born and grew up is not painted in any warm colors (0%). Their homeland is ‘the territory where they live’ (39.5%). This is confirmed and at the same time explained by their dissatisfaction with the place of residence (0% of satisfaction with the place of residence). The next most unanimous choice is the association of the homeland with the family (32%).
When the quantitative indicators of the choice of the native language as the main sign of association with the homeland are identical, the motives for choosing in the group of 18-29 (35.4%) and in the older age group (33.3%) are different. Taking into account the significance of the national characteristic for the younger and older age groups, it can be concluded that the language for the older generation has a metaphysical meaning, it is a kind of matrix of the life of the people, because the language expresses the national worldview, cultural environment, the spirit of the people, which permeates all aspects of life, on which children are brought up and acquire a sense of homeland. For the younger generation, language is a stigma, a selection criterion, the possibility of a faster division into ‘ours’ and ‘aliens’. And the less significant the language will be for new generations, the more distant from the homeland and the more defective they will be. It is proved by the fact that nationality is a significant factor in choosing friends for the age group of 18-29 (11.8%), and the same age group indicates nationality as a significant factor of difference between classes and groups (17.7%).
Of the intangible aspects of life, our residents are most satisfied with family relationships (71.6%), moreover, this factor is the leading one for all age groups, and the next intangible indicator of life satisfaction is communication with friends (41%).
The analysis of the results obtained allows us to assert that for the inhabitants of the Jewish Autonomous Region, the microsociety is of the greatest importance. Residents of the region remain committed to the primordial key value of our ethnic group, namely the family. The structure of the identification preferences of the inhabitants of the Jewish Autonomous Region is authentic to the reality of the present time; the list of identification preferences of solidarity contains such indicators as national, local-settlement, and status groups.
The tendencies of forming the identity of the inhabitants of the Jewish Autonomous Region are outlined on the basis of the analysis of their identifications with social communities. These are people who share their life views with the respondents, representatives of their generation, and people of the same profession. The choice can be explained by the weakening of adherence to territorial locality in favor of expanding identity to the all-Russian one, which is a positive sign of strengthening civic positions in Russia and the effectiveness of an integrative policy for the development and strengthening of all-Russian identity. At the same time, the emerging awareness of one’s own identity as a citizen of Russia have the risks of weakening the sense of belonging to a small homeland, place of residence.
The stability of the development of a society is determined by collective identity, which consists of individual ideas of the individual about himself, choosing his group and his place in society (Zhade, 2007). Therefore, when implementing the strategic goals of the development of society, state structures and local governments need not only to have an idea of the dominant interests and moods in society, but also to actively promote socially approved values that combine both local and all-Russian components. The result of such efforts will be the formation of a new personality, whose social identity will harmoniously combine socially significant, and no less relevant vital personal interests in the system of macro-values.
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21 June 2021
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Social sciences, education and psychology, technology and education, economics and law, interdisciplinary sciences
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Nevelichko, L. G., Vorotilkina, I. M., & Bogachenko, N. G. (2021). Content Analysis Of Social Identity Of The Jewish Autonomous Region Residents. In & N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), Amurcon 2020: International Scientific Conference, vol 111. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 155-160). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.06.03.21