Ethnic bias — primary background of formation of national identity

There is represented an analysis of research’s approaches of self-consciousness as a component of an individuality’s structure in the article. On the basis of this scientific analysis there is defined that ethnic prejudices are a foundation of formation of a national self-consciousness in a biosphere system of orientation of an individuality. Also the consciousness as an object of research social psychology is considered that on the one hand, social category, and with another — a social and psychological phenomenon and is a psychofunctional transforming component of consciousness of the personality.

Problems in psychological science of self-consciousness gets relevance as the main indicator of mental inner world. Since the result of any human activity indicates the level of development of self-consciousness. On this basis, the principle of unity of consciousness and activity are formulated. Human being is able to show his humanity, through their actions, behavior, and mental system. In this case, we can say that selfconsciousness is a measure of human knowledge, mental outlook and behavior.

Self-consciousness — is self-awareness, self-reflection and the man himself in the outside world. These circumstances of the human soul we define through his activity, movement and their own views. Therefore, self-consciousness, orderly, systematic index of formation as human being. Of course, it does not appear by itself. It is constantly adjusted and outlined by surrounding human society. This is a very complex psychological and socio-historical process. For instance, the dynamics of the level of development of selfconsciousness in the history of mankind. Then it becomes clear that self-consciousness is the psychological structure. This is shaping and developing of its factors and mechanisms, as well as its internal components. Before considering these structures, we will focus on the analysis of different views on the nature of selfconsciousness.

In determining the genesis of self-consciousness of many psychologists, they are largely agree with each other. For example, according to I.S.Con consciousness — is inherent in the human race stage of development. It means the complexity level of development of self-consciousness, showing its stability and continuity in the form of «I am — concept». I.S.Con linked it with the development of human intelligence. «I  am — concept» consists of three interrelated components: cognitive — knowledge of their properties and human qualities; emotional — evaluation of their properties and relations to himself, self-esteem, behavioral — consisting of the above, the practical attitude to yourself, that is social orientation of the individual to himself [1].

Summarizing these thoughts, B.F.Porshnev stated: «self-consciousness — the definition of collective and individual levels forming of the human’s «we» concept. In his understanding of the collective «we» appears after the «they.» Since the concept of «we» appears after a person first encounters with «they». That  is «they» — it's not us, and vice versa, «we» — this is not they. Only the appearance of «they» gives you the opportunity to designate and further to develop self-determination [2]. Then the level of transformation of consciousness into self-consciousness is realized in the process of self-discovery. Therefore A.G.Spirkin believed that self-consciousness is not unique only to the individual, but also the whole society, class, nation and social group, since it is the consciousness that promote understanding of the interests and ideals of the culture and fight for it.

A.K.Uledov continued this idea with the other hand. He claimed: «Self-consciousness — is the core of the consciousness of the social subject. If consciousness of the social subject is a manifestation in the reality of his ideas, views, opinions and spiritual structure, then self-consciousness is defining of the subject of his common and fundamental interests, as well as a sense of their place in society, definition of the relationship of personality to the class, state, society» [3].

Thus, awareness of the social identity of their interests and needs makes the basic sense of selfconsciousness. Clear manifestation of this phenomenon is observed in international relations. As a representative of a certain nationality in international relations defends the honor of his nation and tries to manifest itself only with the positive side, as well as trying to meaningfully and purposefully carry out their activities.

National self-consciousness reflecting the underlying assumptions and processes of formation of the ethnic group is defined in any public system of its national interests and needs.

Until today, we have defined «national self-consciousness» from the national identity to the national consciousness. On this understanding of this phenomenon influenced us study appearing in Soviet scientific psychological and ethnographic sources. In any process of interpretation and conditions of society in these sources, the problem of national consciousness appeared. National consciousness and self-consciousness indicate the level of development of national characteristics in ethnic's consciousness and thought.

In understanding the concept of «national self-consciousness», there are many alternative views. Because the problem of national self-consciousness was determined and considered its theoretical and methodological basis of the various sciences, such as philosophy, ethnology, history, cultural studies, sociology, pedagogy, etc.

Philosophical and sociological sciences in the study of national self-consciousness have shown the need to focus on major trends, retaining its contradictions and patterns. In this regard, philosophy instead of «ethnic» uses the term «national self-consciousness». They explain it as the convenience in study the problems of national self-consciousness because this concept is more accurately determines the socio-ideological phenomenon of the nation: a national literature, art, culture, etc.

If you deepen into the genesis of these concepts, it has been especially evident in the work of the Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov. This theme is very actively debated in the Russian socio-sociological literature of the late XIX-th and beginning of XX-th centuries. It can be attributed to the number of those who first considered this problem through the proficient analysis of V.I.Nikolsky, D.Muretova, P.I.Kovalevsky, etc.

Later analysis of psychological aspects of national self-consciousness can be traced in the works of G.Shpet, D.N.Ovsyaniko-Kulikovsky. These works were the last works of the 20s of the Soviet era.

Works of V.V.Mardvin, D.S.Likhachev, articles of P.Kushner in 1940–45 years during the Great Patriotic War were the result of Stalinist agitation of nation about patriotic feelings of the people and national identity.

In the 1980s, the theme of national self-consciousness suffered crisis. But we can afford to say that this topic was excluded from scientific subjects. Because at the end of the 80s the problem of the nation, particularly, the problem of national self-consciousness has been considered in many papers in connection with his role in social relations. For example, designation of S.T.Kaltakhchayan on the need for a comprehensive analysis of the problem of national self-consciousness. You can also note the works of Y.V.Bromley, Y.Harutyunyan, L.M.Drobizheva, A.K.Kalmyrzayeva, B.G.Grushin, K.N.Khabibulin, A.F.Dashdamirova, M.G.Stefanenko, A.I.Krupnyi, etc. All these works pointed the need to consider national self-consciousness as a specific phenomenon in the structure of the nation, as well as determine the mechanism of its formation. However, their work brought theoretical and analytical views of ethnic psychology.

ST Katahchayan in his «Leninism is the basis of the nation and the ways of forming international community» (late 60s.) included in the structure of national self-consciousness following components:

  1. a single ethnic consciousness and attitudes towards other ethnic groups;
  2. commitment to democratic culture, territory, language and national values;
  3. awareness of the social community;
  4. patriotism;
  5. awareness of unity in the struggle for national liberation [4].

There are especially significant conceptual provisions of academician V.Bromley in the construction methodology of the study of national self-consciousness in ethnic psychology. He understood national selfconsciousness as «feeling in conjunction with the nation, the realization of its interests, national values and orientation in relation to other nations».

L.M.Drobizheva included national self-consciousness into the structure of the spiritual formation of man, and believed that it is man's relation to historical and cultural values of its people in its presentation of auto stereotype, its territory, culture, history, and argued that it is aimed in increasing of human activity [5].

A.K.Kalmyrzaev determines the complexity of the structure of national self-consciousness like this: national self-consciousness is the feeling and awareness of the ethnic community of the people, respect for their national language, culture, and to their country's historical heritage.

Among these studies, LP Chagai is the scientist who in the course of a comprehensive analysis considered national self-consciousness as a component, indicating the level of personal development and pointed out that it is a complex property in the formation of national identity. He defined the structure of national self-consciousness as follows:

  1. National continuity (historical, personal and social experience gained and assigned during the interethnic relations, the concept of the emergence of society from the territorial, political, linguistic, cultural and other conditions).
  2. National self-consciousness, national identity; knowledge about the history and culture of its people; self-esteem of its people and estimation of other nations, the level of claims and direction to it; understanding its social role and status in international relations; ethnic
  3. National self-attitude: national evaluative orientation; function and development of needs and national-cultural interests; knowledge of ethnic principles, rules, prohibitions and moral
  4. Interethnic comparison: national feeling (national pride, national honor, ) reflect national volitional motives (emotional, rational, etc.), national and international persuasion.
  5. National self-regulation: self control of ideological-psychological mechanisms and control of the international
  6. Degree of the usage of their national identity based on opportunities and spiritual forces: objective forms of the achievement of national success during the entire life of the individual, as well as his willingness to specific pathways and impacts, proper use of himself in any direction of international relations and the nation's development and understanding of the purpose and meaning of existence [6].

Thus, the experts came to the conclusion that national self-consciousness has a very complex structure. Therefore it is necessary to investigate the formation of national self-consciousness based on sociopsychological views. Since the social -psychological attitudes in our social conditions allow full consideration of the national psychological problems in line with the functioning of various social systems. If you adhere to the advice of scientists sociological and psychological sciences (A.K.Uledov, P.Sorokin) sociopsychological perspectives suggest the need for studies of the main forms of interaction between members of society. Then, it turns out that the socio-psychological view is the main scientific principle explaining the structure and meaning of national self-consciousness.

If we consider the national self-consciousness as an object of socio-psychological research, it is necessary to take into account that it is, on the one hand, a social category, on the other hand, the sociopsychological phenomenon. National self-consciousness is formed through communications with  members of a particular ethnic community and social conditions. That is national self-consciousness, appearing on the basis of certain actions, norms, are developing, improving and changes due to the changes in various social relations. Therefore, consideration of issues of national self-consciousness must begin with its constituent content components.

National self-consciousness contains: national identity, national self-image, self-attitude, representation of ethnodifferentiating and ethno reinforcing signs, ethnic stereotypes and destinations, ethnic bias [7].

A.O.Boronoyev to the structure of ethnic identity include, on the one hand, the ideal representative of the nation, self-determination yourself through unity and independence and marking its place among others, on the other hand, awareness of national values included in the concept of «Homeland» by assessing with moral-psychological side. Whereas V.S.Mukhina defined national self-consciousness as an internal system of man. Of course, since consciousness is based on the human outlook on life, it is the result of human mental phenomena, such as sensation, perception, emotion, etc. In this case, national self-consciousness is an indicator of fixing his tastes, attitudes, interests, feelings, pride, language.

In this regard, significant statement of A.R.Luriya is about that ethnic identity is a phenomenon which is not only the result of a conscious analysis, but it is also a new psychological system, specifically designed to reflect the reality that determines the content of particularly conscious person. However, it is a purely individual phenomenon, enabling them to self-activity of the person showing his own views on himself and other people.

The level of development of national self-consciousness of man depends largely on ethnic prejudices formed in life personality of his relationship to his own nationality and inward looking. Ways of formation and development of national self-consciousness of these structures are realized in the process of socialization. As the above-mentioned phenomena is developed, depending on the specific environment of socialization of national identity and from the changes of social relations.

Thus, to the structure of national self-consciousness we can include the following main components: national stereotypes, national attitudes, beliefs and ethnic prejudice. Because these components determine the basic direction of the national life of the individual. And thus character, emotional state, a system of human communication are built. Hence, it becomes clear that for the study of human self-consciousness it is necessary to define manifestations of ethnic prejudice in his life's journey, their dynamics and social factors influencing them. For example, we can show the basis of such national characteristic of the Kazakh people's positive qualities like hospitality, fraternity, politeness and negative qualities such as laziness, strictness, envy only by revealing the causes and mechanisms for determining the positive and negative ethnic prejudice. Therefore, only correctly identifying the factors and mechanisms of manifestations forming ethnic prejudices we may disclose positive way formation of national self-consciousness.

Todd Nelson in his work gives wrong belief as object estimation (social group) in 60–70 years. He told:

«But it, in principle, will be the direction. Therefore, in most cases, we considered it from affective, informative and characteristic points of view» [8; 25]. Because, on an explanation of the author, wrong belief in estimation of the person affective character which has arisen in this regard. According to the same author, in informative and social conditions the direction (estimation), that is «wrong belief» can weaken [8; 330].

Acquaintance to history, to present nature of the nation is not theoretical task, it is steady political compliance, unity. Expansion of the informative direction of members of the nation promotes correctly to estimate national values, to development of national culture. Forms belief of each member of the nation.

Belief is a special psychological phenomenon. Among them, religious beliefs are a  special  case, because they are created by circumstances of life of society. Together with feelings of belief there is basis of motivation, the purpose of activity of the person and is a reference point. Theological religious beliefs are not separated quality with all the heart the person or pleasure which was granted by god. In such look the belief joins common sense as a knowledge basis.

In the modern basic of concepts the national direction should be understood, first, as an uncertain condition of internal readiness. The national direction is formed through itorichesky development. Secondly, fixing of the main national naprvleniye should be looked for in formations of national stereotypes. Formation of national stereotypes is a response to the social truth, each reaction or each situation not only is connected with okruzhayeshy reality, it is designated by this factor.

Thirdly, the national direction, as well as other directions, is formed through action process, but unlike them is shown as the specific social norm, a character indicator.

So, the national direction should be carried to funktsialization process because the role of the national direction is interconnected with the provision of mentality of ordering. The national direction is shown through each nation as norm of primary activity of mentality. There national mental features are shown and form a form of manifestation of psychology, as the internal maintenance of the nation.

The direction was investigated at D.N.Uznadze's school as a special phenomenon and some determining is given it: «The direction is a dynamic state, constant readiness of one subject, an obespechivaniye participation of a stream of actions in this object character with precisely put orientation of the subject», etc.

In the person there is the whole area of activity, leads to simple conscious psychological actions and research of this area causes great scientific interest, and without special analysis it isn't possible  to understand human psychology. If to consider his words, the direction — a phenomenon which conforms to physiological requirements of the personality, helps to define complexity of a condition of the person, to investigate his actions.

Agreeing with this opinion V.N.Myasishev showed that other social objects, difficult social and psychological situations and sphere of activity of the relation of the personality which arise in consciousness of the person through communication as are widely considered.

The orientation of the personality designates contrasts, which встречаются in the person. That is, it is considered the difficult situation, difficult object which influences formation of social and psychological life of the personality. For this reason it is possible to correlate an orientation of the personality to one accuracy (to reality, concreteness, clarity). In that case, wrong belief will be a basis of strengthening of  this orientation.

In everyday life people perceive one thing differently, under the law someone has to be mistaken. But the psychological science acts against this conclusion. Perception of simple object not separate act, and part of difficult process. It is, first, connected with system, experience, interest considered обекта and with the practical purpose of the subject. For example, if perceive it is scolded by a simple metal design, the engineer perceives it as a certain particle of any car.

«Direction» which is a basis of each act of knowledge, communication and work is an orientation of the subject, the provision of a dynamic readiness, a tendency to a certain action, ability to satisfy certain needs of the individual. Formation of system of the direction of the person is found on the basis of his life experience, mood and develops not considerably for him through a certain social environment. In that case, formation of the national direction in consciousness of the member of the nation as wrong belief changes and carried out in the course of its socialization — in study, game, etc.

Decisive key ethnic wrong belief — manifestation in structure of a sonaniya and society history. On the eve of a civilization of each ethnic group to everyone is inherent to put itself above another, the relationship between the different nations wasn't identical, it is noticed in different stereotypes. The American sociologist and the psychologist who for the first time has made classification of these stereotypes, K.M.Kwan describes an image of others ethnic group through historical relationship in consciousness of the people. If two groups interact, create each other the positive direction, patiently look at some distinctions. And if groups do closely not communicate, won't influence vital interests, people won't be positive to each other or negatively. Their directions are expressed by curiosity.

If any nation against other ethnic group, understanding that is negative to this nation, creates wrong belief. And as, considers that their hostile relation was created from bad habits. They prove these concepts through the endured facts. For example, as: «We had one Mexican who gave nobody life! « (I.Kon). Such wrong opinion can be met and in everyday life. It is possible to see origin of the wrong direction to the child through wrong belief, for example, if the brother had a bad behavior, was the bad pupil, to estimate his brother as: «And your brother studied, both his study, and behavior were bad!». In the course of communication of groups wrong belief in national knowledge change, in connection with psychofunctional activity of consciousness at cross-cultural communication in the course of knowledge of each other of members of the nation understanding between them, ability to compromise leads to emergence of the direction of unity, coherence and integrity [9].

In the drawing located below, we see that in orientation system as the consciousness component, ethnic wrong belief are a psychofunctional changeable component.

 Ethnic wrong installations the main component of national consciousness in orientation system

Figure. Ethnic wrong installations the main component of national consciousness in orientation system 

So, theoretical we prove that ethnic wrong belief are a basis of the direction and very weak, uncertain, ill-founded phenomenon. In this regard, ethnic wrong belief play estimating, ordering role in formation of emotional and motivational character of the personality. Wrong belief, on different social situations, take a significant place in consciousness of the person and become an initial source in consciousness formation. That is, we can tell that the national consciousness and the direction of the personality is its justification, understanding, definition in the social environment which are noticed in actions, opinions, acts of the person in society and in this regard wrong belief and socialization of the person, directed on mastering of the basic rules of society.



  1. Kon I.S. Finding yourself: Personality and self-consciousness, Moscow: Politizdat, 1984, 335
  2. Porshnev N.F. The contrast of ethnic self-consciousness, Moscow: Nauka, 1973, 320
  3. Uledov A.K. The spiritual renewal of society, Moscow: Nauka, 1990, 314
  4. Kaltakhchyan S.T. Questions of history, 1996, 8, p. 3–6.
  5. Drobizheva L.M. Soviet Ethnography, 1991, 1, p. 3–13.
  6. Chagai L.P. National self-consciousness of person: the nature, contradictions, problems of formation: Dis. ... PhD, Moscow, 1993, 208
  7. Sarakuyev E.A, Krysko V.G. Introduction to ethno psychology, Moscow: Institute рractical Psychology, 1996, 344
  8. Nelson Psychology of prejudices: Secrets of templates of thinking, perception and behavior, 2 nd international edition, St. Petersburg: «prime-EVROZNAK», Moscow: OLMA-PRESS, 2003, 384 p.
  9. Amirova B. Ethnic wrong installations: theory and practice, Pavlodar: Publ. PSPI, 2009, 395
Year: 2014
City: Karaganda
Category: Sociology