THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE AND RELIGION IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF CULTURAL IDENTITY: THE BURYAT CASE

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THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE AND RELIGION IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF CULTURAL IDENTITY: THE BURYAT CASE

Type: Bachelor thesis
Title: THE IMPORTANCE OF LANGUAGE AND RELIGION IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF CULTURAL IDENTITY: THE BURYAT CASE
Author: Zegelaar, Eva Evertovna
Issue Date: 2018-02-05
Keywords: Buryatia, Ethnic Minority, Cultural Identity, Religion, Language, Buryat, Russia
Abstract: The Republic of Buryatia in the Russian Federation is resident to the Buryats, an ethnic minority. A large part of the population practice Buddhism. The thesis investigates how religion and language can explain the construction of Buryat cultural identity. Most scholarly research emphasise on the importance of religion for the construction of Buryat cultural identity. However, their arguments are not fully explaining why this is the case. Therefore, Stuart Hall’s theory of cultural identity is applied to the case of Buryatia. The theory contains two models: one expresses that cultural identity is ‘fixed’ and the other claims that it is a ‘process’. These two models are applied using Buryat historical contexts. The thesis concludes that both language and religion are important to the construction of Buryat identity. Language is important because it functions as a system of representation, for it creates and ascribes ‘meaning’ in the cultural ‘space’. This is what entails the construction of cultural identity. Furthermore, religion carries, exchanges and creates meaning; therefore it functions as a language in itself. Hence, the language of religion is important for the construction and maintenance of Buryat cultural identity.
Supervisor: Otto, Boele
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: International Studies (Bachelor)
Specialisation: International Studies
ECTS Credits: 15
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/56293
 

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