When being in a
process if self- identification, there is a need for a cognitive component (a
sense of the awareness of the membership), an evaluative component (membership
is related to some value connotations) and an emotional investment in the
awareness and evaluations; there must be an in-group (that one identifies with)
and an out-group (that one differentiates with) (Tajfel, 1982). This
classification is never neutral, humans are not disinterested classifiers;
there must be some benefit of the group membership (social, economic, political
or emotional) (Jenkins, 2008).
ourselves, or others, is a matter of meaning, and meaning always involves
interaction: agreement and disagreement, convention and innovation,
communication and negotiation” (Jenkins, 2008, p17).
Even if usually group
membership is exclusive, individual self- identification might be inclusive in
a social interaction sense (Jenkins, 2008); for instance, if there are two
nations and two members of each nation, in a group membership level, they are exclusive,
but it does not mean that they could not develop a social interaction.
Self-images and group
identifications also changes through the time; the time and space strongly
determine the group identity (Jenkins, 1994).
Group and individual
self- identification does not automatically determine the behaviour of the
individual; individual behaviour is multi- dimensional and constantly evolving combination
of planning, improvisation and habit, influenced by emotional responses, health
and well-being, access to resources, knowledge and world-view, the impact of
the behaviour of others, and other factors, too. Group membership and identity
are likely to have some part to play, but they cannot be said to determine
anything.” (Jenkins, 2008, p8- 9). However, these definitions and ideas of “us”
and “others” might influence such decisions as choosing. a spouse or they may
have a little effect on hiring places or the choice of hobbies (Loveman, 1999).
Also, the belief in the difference between the groups might cause several kinds
of inequality (Epstein, 1992).
Since persons individual identity is a complex unit,
his or her group identities also are complex. This also applies to the group
identity- it could be complexed and defined differently by different group
members. People tend to be surrounded by similar people, with whom they
identify themselves (Brewer, Gonsalkorale& van Dommelen, 2012).
Social structure and environment is a complex unit as
a whole, thus, people tend to localize themselves in a smaller and so to say-
simpler units. By finding these smaller groups, with whom there is a perception
of a relatively high similarity, comparatively homogenous groups and identities
are created. Social environments with a high ethnic or religious diversity, has
higher chances to develop several smaller in- groups, expecially among those,
who are not very keen on the multiculturalism (Brewer, Gonsalkorale& van
Self- identification process is never complete in an
ever- changing social environment. Furthermore, even if one self- identifies
himself with a certain group (internal definition) he might be identified
differently by others (external definition). Also, definition and recognition
by others (external definition) might have a strong impact on the internal
definition too; these definitions might be in conflict, might not be
significant or they also might complement each other (Jenkins, 1994).
Collective identification appears, when individuals see similarities with
others and they have common needs or interests. When creating or recognizing
boundaries, individuals realize who they are and who they are not. It is also a
learning process of self and group identities. On some occasions people might
recognize themselves when categorized by others (Jenkins, 2008).
The importance of the group membership might be different for different
individuals, for instance, ethnic group membership might be very important for
some, while some might be ignorant to such a category and would not participate
in collective activities of this group (Jenkins, 2008). Collective identities
are likely to change their form in historical transitions, when identities
might change, and some identity differences might become more evident while
some- non- existent (Wagner- Pacifici, 2010).
The clearer the stereotypes are, the more consistent ethnic identity is;
the easier it is to attach and define.
(Mitchell, 1974). According to some, ethnies are constructed by rational
actors, who might claim to be a part of the group to gain some goods; others
claim that ethnicity is a genetic transparent status of a person (Gil- White,
Boundary blurring reduces the importance of the
respective group, for instance, ethnic group boundaries are blurring within the
nation and thus, they are losing the importance as a social category (Wimmer,
2008). The most stable boundaries are among those, who identify individuals
through multigenerational, unilineal descent lines; most unstable boundaries
are those defined by behavioural rather than genealogical membership criteria (Gil- White, 1999).
2.1.2. Sense of belonging in
the nation- state
Sense of belonging to a cultural group or a nation
state is different. National group identity usually includes a specific
territory boundary as well; there is a difference between the practical
attachment and emotional attachment to the place (Kearns& Forrest, 2000).
The sense and attachment can be local, national, regional or global, but
because of the heritage character national attachment tend to be more valuable
than others (Harvey, 2015). Space is so important because it is usually
connected to the interactions, it is multi- dimensional and ever changing- it
is never finished (Harvey, 2015).
media makes regional or national representation ubiquitous and insert the
public into private. It is a great sociological interest in events that are
linked with other events socially and politically. By studying certain kind of
boundaries, we as sociologists can determine factors that make individuals
interpret and reinterpret their actions regarding their self- identification (Wagner-
Qualitative research study is the most
appropriate for the questions that are related to meaning making, practices,
groups, lifestyles and similar (Fick, 2009; DiCicco- Bloom& Crabtree, 2006,).
It was found as the approach to the respective research questions and aims.
Usually, qualitative studies aim to describe how something develops or changes
(Flick, 2009); this study aims to describe Latvian- Russian millennial
collective identity and how it is framed. More specifically, whether there is
such a group identity and is it conscious. Qualitative study also aims to
clarify, interpret and to certain degree explain the phenomena (Heyink&
Tymstra, 1993); this study aims to clarify the factors that are present in the
Latvian- Russian collective identity construction. The greater study interest
is in how the respondents’ explain and interpret their self- identification
through their experiences, which is also suitable for a qualitative research
approach (Heyink& Tymstra, 1993; Qu& Dumay, 2011).