The article examines ethnic identity on two levels. Ethnic self-awareness at the level of an ethnos acts as a system unifying common ideas shared by the majority of ethnos members about their ethnic group, the main features of their culture and their ethnic psyche. This is a system of views, ideas and perceptions of an ethnic group that appears because of interactions with other groups and reflects the group’s knowledge of them, attitude towards them. A group’s ethnic identity is reflected in its language, in the system of its customs and traditions, in myths and national styles. Ethnic self-awareness at the level of an individual acts as an integral system of ideas about oneself, is closely connected with the individual’s image on their own ethnic group. It provides a group member with a sense of belonging to the corresponding ethnic community, which is necessary for an individual’s psychological health and social comfort, a full-fledged life. Such self-awareness is formed throughout the entire period of human development, from childhood to maturity.
The authors prove the thesis that the structure of ethnic self-awareness is crystallized due to emotional connections formed during socialization. Ethnic self-awareness is a coded emotional-cognitive component that has both objective and subjective forms of expression. The formation of a person as a representative of a certain ethnic group take place through the interiorization of those cultural and social values and relations that form the basis of their ethnic group’s social life. The emotional component of ethnic self-awareness includes a sense of national dignity. Ethnic identity is an essential component in the structure of an ethnos, along with such components as a common origin, culture, language. This is not only an awareness of one’s identity with their ethnic community, but also includes assessment of one’s own ethnic group, feeling of significance to be its members, common ethnic feelings, which are the most important criteria for interethnic comparison.
So, the structure of ethnic identity is multifaceted, all structural elements are closely interconnected and interact with each other at different levels and at different stages of ethnos development, acquiring a leading value.
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