The Problems Of Ethnocultural Interactions In Russia Cultural Studies Essay

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After the disintegration of USSR the boarders of Russia became more flexible for immigrants from the CIS countries. As a result millions of the illegal members of other cultures moved to the new state called the Russian Federation. If the state accepted such an inflow of labor power it must have predicted the possible consequences. We are speaking, in particular, about problems of integration of members of different cultures in the Russian capital which has its own culture and patterns of behavior.

Owing to a huge inflow of various categories of immigrants to the central and south Russian regions the problem of mutual cultural and psychological adaptation of immigrants and host citizens to each other became very critical. It is also reinforced by the fact that the reasons for immigration have been changed but the amount of immigrants was shifted a little. Particularly, the immigrants used to have a status of refugees because of wars and terror acts, but now immigrants leave their motherlands for the central and south regions voluntarily. The enforced immigration turned into voluntary one (labor and educational immigrations). Most of the immigrants have been forced out in the "shadow market" and 40% (2002 [1] ) of them want to stay in Moscow and get the permanent citizenship (International Organization on Migration informs). This fact leads to destabilization of the labor market from one side and gives the opportunity to fill the niche of workers becoming empty from other side. But the fact that the immigrants from Caucasus are in the lead of the antirating of RPORC (WCIOM) on problems of xenophobia in Russia (29%, 2009) gives us the grounding to consider that the international relationships in the metropolis are very intense, bad an disputed and 51% of Muscovites confirm it [2] .

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The mentioned problems generate the phenomenon of interethnic intensity and may result an open confrontation and even ethnic war. Various insults which are viewed and heard in Moscow streets, topics on discrimination appeared in mass media, the organized groups of pseudo-patriots among adolescents illustrate the growing hostility towards the immigrants.

With a view of decrease of the interethnic intensity one should hold empirical observations of mutual patterns and expectations of immigrants and host citizens, of coincidence and discrepancy level of them, and researches on strategies of cross-cultural communication in practices of intergroup and interpersonal interactions.

In this case we investigate sociological, psychological and cultural aspects of problems of this communication correlating it with the notion of "ethnical tolerance". This research will help us to find out the main problems of interethnic connections in Moscow as in the most favorable region in Russia for immigrants and to outline the means of interethnic intensity decrease among Muscovites and immigrants from the Caucasian region.

The classical sociological approach to the investigation of migration processes is represented in The Polish peasant in Europe and America [3] by W.Thomas and F.Znanieski. They analyzed the consequences of the migration processes by using qualitative methods. Then problems of migration were widely observed by social scientists from Chicago school: R.Park, E.Burgess and R.McKenzie [4] justified the idea that migration was an indicator and accelerator of the social mobility.

The problem of adaptation of immigrants is well illustrated from the theoretical perspectives of Frankfurt (particularly, H.Marcuse's Repressive Tolerance) and Formal schools (G.Simmel's Stranger).

In terms of Individualization and intimacy concepts we may say that "otherness" inherent to immigrants is reflected by ethnic, race, confessional, social and cultural parameters different from the local ones.

In Simmels terms the problems of "strangers" are in adaptation to another environment and not to become a native. Their function is in observation, but not in participating. Strangers are free from local norms and traditions, that's why they are free in their actions. Being in another place strangers save their culture by accommodation and not assimilation: some basic rules are accepted but in the borders of opportunity to survive in a foreign space.

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When there's a great inflow of immigrants as it's today in Russia and, particularly, in Moscow, as a most favorable region, the collision of civilizations occurs. Using Hantington's conception we should say that intolerant attitude to immigrants from the Caucasian region is the result of a big amount of problems connected with a variety of cultures and confessions appeared in one local place. Moreover the immigration inflows are always replaced by new ones and the number of adapted visitors is replaced by another number of new comers. That leads to the permanent situation of discontent because of not adapted to the urban conditions immigrants which is represented as the collision between rural and urban societies, high and low social mobility in it, individualized and collective life styles.

Once faced to a member of "other" culture we start to turn him into a social type of the "stranger". This social type is collected from a stranger connected with a group. In these Simmels terms we begin to personify an immigrant in borders of his ethnos. Our intolerance is created by not dividing a person from his community. The whole community begins to seem the "other" and all its members are enemies.

Moreover a multiplicity of groups is essential to the healthy development of the individual. R.P.Wolff says that "out group hostility is the natural accompaniment of in-groups loyalty" [5] . In his words the more we feel affection to "we", the more we are kept away from "they". This is the reason to intolerance.

At the same time if we look at the individualization as a feature of globalization in Beck's terms another picture emerges. If every individual depends only on his own decisions, he is landlocked in the isolated space of risks. In this case he doesn't care about immigrants and other visitors of his city.

But we can't actually measure intolerance without finding the tolerance in relationships within the metropolis. J.S. Mill considers tolerance as the readiness to respect the inviolability of the private sphere of the individual experience. His philosophy of tolerance is directed to the assumption that big city life promotes active encouragement of cultural, religious, social and political variety.

A concise review of the conceptions mentioned above and supplementary ones which correlate the sociological approaches in terms of Individualization and Intimacy with the problem of tolerance towards the immigrants ("strangers", "others", "der Fremde") is represented below: