tom XXVI / numer 1Mariya Alekseevna Abramova, Vsevolod Grigor’evich Kostyuk, Galina Savitovna Goncharova, Studying the influence of linguocultural environment specifics on interethnic settings of young people: The methodological foundations

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Introduction

The development of multi-ethnic Russian socium in the context of globalization, the intensification of international relations in the economy, culture and education calls for the implementation of interdisciplinary (ethnosociological, linguocultural, ethnopsychological) studies of the influence of the social environment of individuals and groups on the formation of their interests, value orientations, attitudes in intercultural communication, including the number of attitudes in interethnic relations.

When studying the problems of sociocultural adaptation of youth to the conditions of modern Russian transformations (Abramova, Goncharova, 2013, 2014), we relied on the classification of types, types, models of adaptations developed by L.V. Caurel based on the opposition “subject – object” and “system – environment” (2005). In the theoretical analysis of the phenomenon of adaptation the initial steps is the consideration of the characteristics of the external environment (the object of adaptation) – a set of conditions (natural, social, economic, cultural, political and others) in which the life of the subject (individuals, groups, communities, etc.) proceeds and with which he is forced to reckon with, adapt to their changes, change them in accordance with his resources, replenish available resources from the environment, interact with other actors in the current environment.

The analysis of the specifics of the environment led us to the need to study the language and cultural characteristics of the environment. We believe that the features of adaptation and socialization of the individual depend on its characteristics.

Research problem: identifying the specifics of the linguistic and cultural environment as a factor of personality formation.

Purpose: substantiation of criteria for studying the specifics of the formation of the linguistic and cultural environment and its impact on interethnic attitudes of the individual.

Overview of approaches

Developing the theme of the interdependence of the formation of the “world picture”, “world image” (Wittgenstein, 1958) and the sociocultural environment specifics, by sociocultural environment in its most general form we mean the objective conditions for human existence in society, which are the factor and foundation of his socialization, inculturation and acculturation.

A more specific analysis allows us to differentiate the concept of “environment” on various grounds: areas of life (economic, social, cultural), levels (macro- and microenvironment), types of settlements (city, village), etc., as well as on grounds and complex foundations (for example, urban culture, linguo-educational environment, etc.). Among such complex foundations is the underexplored linguocultural environment, as one of the central concepts regarding a new scientific discipline – linguoculturology.

“Linguoculturology,” notes V.A. Maslova, “is a science which arose at the intersection of linguistics and cultural studies and which explores the manifestations of the culture of the people, which were reflected and entrenched in the language” (2001, p. 28). Here, a person is meant as a linguistic identity, “a carrier of a certain national mentality and language, participating in joint activities (and, most importantly, the speech activity) with other representatives of the national community” (2001, p. 113). The basic concepts of this science include: the culture domain, cultural attitudes, mentality, cultural space and others (2001, p. 48).

The study of personality as a culture medium, the result of its impact and at the same time the source of its development is presented in the works of foreign researchers A. Cardiner, K. Klakhon, E. Sepir, B. Warf and others K. Levy-Strauss, considering culture as an ensemble of symbolic systems, which primarily include language, marriage rules, art, science and religion, considered the language to be both a cultural product and a part of culture, which is one of its elements, and as a cultural condition that allows an individual to carry out inculturation and become part his own group.

The idea of the interconnectedness of language and culture was presented in the works of V. von Humboldt, I.A. Baudouin de Courtenay, A.A. Potebni, L. Weisgerber, Yu.D. Apresyan, N.D. Arutyunova, E.M. Vereshchagina, V.V. Vinogradova, V.G. Kostomarova, Yu.S. Stepanova and others.

A more percise definition of the concept of “linguistic and cultural environment” was made by E. Stoyanova in the monograph Metaphor through the prism of the linguocultural situation. “With the development of linguistic and cultural studies,” according to E. Stoyanova, “the environment receives linguocultural coverage and is perceived as an active linguocultural tool in the process of forming a linguistic identity… Language and culture are affirmed as interrelated and interdependent concepts, since language does not exist outside of culture and culture cannot exist outside of language… On this basis, it is necessary to speak not just about the cultural environment, but about the linguocultural environment… It can be argued that the linguocultural environment acts as a determining factor in human life” (2013, pp. 23–25). E. Stoyanova identifies two main types of linguocultural environment – historical and social, considering them simultaneously as spatiotemporal factors of human formation. The historical type of development of the environment is based on the preservation and enrichment of national cultural traditions, the dynamics of innovations and traditions. Each historical era is distinguished by a special world-view component – people’s system of values, mentality, a specific way of thinking and spirituality.

The social type of linguocultural environment is based on the idea of a person as a society member, of a particular social environment with its system of attitudes, values, beliefs, feelings. The mechanism of personality entry into the linguocultural environment of this type is socialization: primary – in the field of interpersonal relations (family, relatives, etc.) and secondary – in the field of social institutions education, culture, etc.). In the process of socialization, a person masters the norms and laws of the sociocultural (including linguocultural) environment, and they become part of his inner world.

The linguocultural environment of a social type is governed by a person’s social affiliation. Researchers identify such social types of linguocultural environment as subcultures, social strata, social groups and subgroups that differ in socio-cultural values, behaviors, and speech practices.

Issues of the linguocultural environment and its impact on various social processes are most often studied in psychology, ethnography and pedagogy. This way, Yu.V. Bromley, when identifying the factors of formation of an individual’s ethnic self-awareness, singled out the language: “Ethnos is a stable set of people historically established in a certain territory, possessing common, relatively stable features of language, culture and psyche, as well as a consciousness of their unity and difference from other similar entities (self-consciousness), fixed in self-name” (1983, p. 14). A special role in the formation of the bilingual environment in the USSR, according to the researcher, was played by the Russian language, which acted as the language of interethnic communication (Bromley, 1988). We could add that according to the results of our research, it not only contributed to the formation of a bilingual environment, but also was a determining factor in international education and the formation of a multicultural community in the USSR (Abramova, 2016).

V.B. Kurylenko and colleagues consider the linguistic and cultural environment as a means of communicative development of bilingual students (2015). In the dissertation by I.V. Tsvetkova Linguocultural educational environment as a factor in the dynamic development of education in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the interaction of linguistic and cultural environments in a social context is analysed. It is concluded that as a result of targeted educational activities of the family, educational institutions, culture, art, as well as the interaction of the individual with his social environment, a linguocultural educational environment is formed (2006, p. 71).

The concretization of the concept of “linguocultural environment”, important for the purposes of this work, is the concept of “linguocultural situation”, the general principles of the study of which are presented in the publications of V.M. Shaklein (1997). The linguocultural situation is meant as the totality of language and culture in their territorial and social organization — their dynamic balance within the boundaries of a certain region or of the administrative-political formation of a certain time cut (1997, p. 19).

Results and discussion

The linguocultural situation, like the linguocultural environment, is specific for each region and is influenced by socio-economic, national-historical, political and cultural factors and intralinguistic processes. This specificity is still poorly studiem in both theoretical and applied (educational, cultural, political and regulatory) respects, which causes conflicts in interethnic relations. For example, let us consider the language policy of the Russian and regional authorities in the field of teaching Russian and native (non-Russian) languages in the education system, when the importance of a language is either exaggerated or understated without studying the specifics of intercultural communication of a particular region. The problem of double standards in language policy became especially acute during the era of the sovereignty parade, when the titular ethnic group, which did not always dominate in number, reformed the constitution of the republic, including the part about language of interpersonal interaction and education (Abramova, Goncharova, Kostyuk, 2012).

The influence of the degree of language(s) proficiency on youth adaptability was studied by us on the example of the republics of Sakha (Yakutia) and Khakassia from 2006 to 2011 (Abramova, Goncharova, Kostyuk, 2011). The results of the study called for an independent theoretical and empirical study devoted to an important segment of the problem of harmonization of interethnic relations – the study of the role of the regional linguocultural environment specifics on the formation of attitudes towards intercultural (interethnic) communication among young people. A specific sociological study required an expansion of the research base, since we believe that the factor of territorial-administrative division (republic or region) plays a role in the ethnocultural policy and the linguocultural situation as a whole, thereby influencing the attitudes of young people. The research base was the republics of Altai, Sakha (Yakutia), Tuva, Khakassia and the Novosibirsk region. Among the important objective factors in the formation of interethnic attitudes of youth we have identified: socio-economic, cultural and ethno-demographic macrostructure of the region, settlements; the history and dynamics of interethnic relations at different levels of the formation of the linguistic and cultural environment (regions, settlement, collective); dynamics and current state of cultural policy in the region; the nature of media activities in intercultural communication of ethnic groups; ethnocultural linguistic specificity of educational systems; ethno-confessional situation in the region and its dynamics; linguistic and cultural situation in the family, collective.

The most important subjective factors in the formation of interethnic attitudes under the influence of the linguocultural environment include types of ethnic identity (normal, ethnocentric, ethno-dominant, ethnic fanaticism, ethnic indifference, ethno-nihilism, ambivalent identity) (Harutyunyan, Drobizheva, Susokolov, 1999, pp. 176–180); type of linguistic personality (possession of native and other languages); traditionalism (attitude towards ethnic traditions); value orientations; religiosity; preferences in choosing channels of ethnocultural information.

Let us note that by interethnic attitudes (ethnic attitudes in interethnic relations) we understand the interpretation most common in ethno sociology and ethno psychology as the readiness (predisposition) of a person to perceive certain events in the life of an ethnic group and interethnic relations, and in accordance with this perception, readiness (predisposition) to act in a certain way in a specific situation.

Being aware of the differences between the terms “readiness” and “predisposition”, we reserve the right to take into account the semantic nuances when interpreting the results of the study.

An important methodological component of our project studying the impact of the linguocultural environment specifics on the attitudes of individuals and groups in interethnic relations is the choice of indicators and indices for assessing this impact. It should be noted that there is no strict distinction between indicators and indices in sociology. So, even in the Sociological Encyclopedia they are defined as synonyms. The article Indicators notes: “indicators – 1) indices; 2) observations available for measuring the characteristics (attributes) of the studied or managed social object… Either the characteristic itself or some of its values can serve as an indicator” (Sociological Encyclopedia, 2003, pp. 365–366). The article Poverty Indicators states that these are “special indices and coefficients characterizing the level and dynamics of poverty” (Sociological Encyclopedia, 2003, p. 366). In empirical studies, some authors, with the goal of a more logical approach to measuring the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of a social process, view indicators as qualitative and indices as quantitative characteristics.

Thus, N.R. Malikova, in her report Sociological indicators for monitoring interethnic relations at the VI international sociological conference “Continuing Grushin” (Moscow, 2016), when pointing out the need for a methodological distinction between social indicators and indices, notes: “Indicators record all possible social phenomena and facts, while indices are conceptual equivalents (substitutes) of the studied phenomena… Therefore, the data of any ethnosociological studies – and, naturally, monitoring, are being correlated with certain indicators, in unity with the qualitative certainty of the state of ethnosocial groups, substantial characteristics of interethnic relations in various socio-ethnic environments” (2016, p. 489). She also points out the need to take into account ethnopsychological indicators in monitoring: the stability of ethnicity, ethnic stereotypes, orientations towards prioritizing traditions or innovations and other indicators (2016, p. 491).

Based on the above understanding of the linguistic-cultural environment, interethnic attitudes, factors of interaction between the environment and attitudes, the following main indicators are identified in the program of our study:

  1. ethnic identity in the system of personality identities;
  2. ethnic self-awareness (its content, completeness, degree of stereotype);
  3. linguoculturological personality type (native language, command of other languages, the role of languages in intercultural communication, psychological characteristics);
  4. social institutions: families, education, culture, religion and their role in the formation of value orientations of an individual in a specific linguocultural environment and its interethnic attitudes;
  5. main information channels affecting the environment and attitudes of individuals and groups (literature, TV, Internet, print, etc.);
  6. spatial specifics of the linguocultural environment (city/village; mono- and multiethnicity of the settlement, educational or labor collective, family);
  7. attitude of an individual towards traditions and innovations;
  8. acculturation strategies of personality and its types.

Accordingly, the quantitative side of the linguocultural environment indications are is clarified in the following social indicators:

  1. correlation of various identities in the identity of an individual (ethnic, Russian, regional, etc.);
  2. completeness of ethnic identity (hyper-nihilism);
  3. the degree of knowledge of a person’s native (non-Russian), Russian, other languages;
  4. linguistic and psychological personality characteristics;
  5. ethnic structure of the linguocultural environment at the macro, meso and micro levels (region, settlement, collective, family);
  6. regional specifics of the formation and operation of social institutions and media;
  7. degree of possession of ethnic traditions (life, work, culture, etc.);
  8. orientation on the mono(poly)-ethnic environment of residence, communication;
  9. social distances in interethnic relations;
  10. orientation towards a mono(poly)-linguistic communication environment;
  11. personality types and the ratio of inculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation, marginalization) in the identity of certain types of personalities.

When analyzing specific indicators, each of the noted indices ones can be supplemented by others at the macro-micro level of the linguocultural environment, when conducting empirical specific sociological and ethno-psychological studies (surveys, testing) according to the program we are implementing. The study expands the subject field of ethnosociology and linguoculturology and contributes towards their integration.

In the socio-regulatory aspect, the study provides new information on how linguistic and cultural processes in society, reflected in the consciousness of various linguocultural types, primarily among young people, affect the formation of ethnic and civic identities, acculturation strategies – integration, assimilation, separation or marginalization, other attitudes in interethnic communication, which will allow for the theoretical and methodological to substantiation of the linguocultural aspect of the policy of regulation and harmonization of interethnic relations. The need for such a policy is evidenced by both foreign (preserving the culture of the Russian diaspora in the Baltic states, Ukraine, France), and modern Russian experience.

Here is an example of using some of the indicators to assess the impact of different types of programs designed to regulate language policy in Russian regions.

The concept content “language policy” includes its regulatory and legal framework and the activities of state authorities and structures.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation (Article 68), defining that the state language throughout its territory is Russian, grants the republics the right to establish their own state languages. The Constitution of the Russian Federation (Article 68), defining that the state language throughout its territory is Russian, grants the republics the right to establish their own state languages. For example there are Russian as state language in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), and Khakass and Russian languages in Khakass Republic, which is reflected in the Constitutions of these republics.

Part 3 of article 68 of The Constitution of the Russian Federation is of fundamental importance in Russian language policy: “the Russian Federation guarantees all its peoples the right to preserve their native language and create conditions for its study and development”.

The comparative analysis of the above indicators to assess the impact of language policy on the linguistic and cultural environment formation in the regions was conducted. As a result, 2 types of language policy were identified which were “hard” type-through the education system, measures are implemented to preserve the language of the titular ethnic group in the form of compulsory study and the “soft” type, implemented by means of recommendation measures.

Soft policy contributes to the preservation of interethnic harmony on the one hand and on the other to the reduction of prestige and demand for other than the Russian language. The “hard” type of language policy that seems to create artificial conditions for preserving the language also proved to be ineffective. Thus, our research results in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), whose language policy we have attributed to the “hard” type, showed that despite the obvious ethno-cultural orientation in both political and educational strategies, there is a tendency to integrate the population into the all-Russian context through increasing the importance of communication in Russian.

Conclusions

Thus, specific ethnosociological and linguosociological studies show that the linguistic and cultural environment itself in the regions of Russia is largely determined by language policy. Its content does not always depend on the ratio of the number of Russian and titular ethnic groups, but it always determines the identification and educational strategies of the population.

This study, with its interdisciplinary and comprehensive nature, is aimed at solving a fundamental scientific and social problem – identifying the conditions and factors for harmonizing group and interpersonal relations in multiethnic and multilingual communities, to which Russia belongs.

The analysis of the influence of different types of language policy shows that to a greater extent the type determines the conditions for preserving the language, but does not motivate the use of it in communication. Language, becoming a factor for the integration of people has a tendency to simplification and selection of the most popular. And as our analysis of the regions in Siberia shows that even in national republics with a dominant ethnic group of the titular population the Russian language becomes more demanded.

The presented methodological justification for studying the criteria of specificity of the linguistic and cultural situation in which an individual is formed allows creating a basis for comparative research in different regions.

References

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PDF Abstrakt

Rocznik: 2021

Tom: XXVI

Numer: 1

Tytuł: Studying the influence of linguocultural environment specifics on interethnic settings of young people: The methodological foundations

Autorzy: Mariya Alekseevna Abramova, Vsevolod Grigor’evich Kostyuk, Galina Savitovna Goncharova

PFP: 30–39

DOI: 10.14656/PFP.2021.01.02