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TATARSTAN IN THE ELITE DISCOURSE AND IN THE VISION OF ITS "ORDINARY" RESIDENTS

Guzel Makarova (e-mail: makarova_guzel@mail.ru)

Marjani Institute of History, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan, Russia

Citation: Makarova G. (2018) Tatarstan v diskurse elit i v videnii «ryadovykh» zhiteley respubliki [Tatarstan in the elite discourse and in the vision of its "ordinary" residents]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 21(2): 75–105 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2018.21.2.3

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Abstract. Involving Russian regions in competition with each other made it urgent to search for the distinctiveness of each of them. Around which meanings is this distinctiveness built? To what extent do these meanings resonate with the image of the territory in the minds of its inhabitants? The above issues are considered in the article on the example of the Republic of Tatarstan (RT). Local authorities implement ambitious projects in the field of innovation, sports, tourism, building a regional image and brands. The study of this region is also important in connection with the experience of the turn of the 1980s-1990s when ethnic identity was used to affirm its special status in the Russian state.

Interviews with experts –– representatives of various groups of a regional elite –– revealed a multiplicity of ideas around which its image is constructed: as a place of interethnic and interconfessional consent, of parity of Tatar and Russian cultures, the center of Tatar culture, the place of functioning of peaceful Islam, and of special development of Russian culture and Orthodoxy. The assumption is made that such a multifaceted region reflects the specificity of its culture which has long been formed at the intersection of traditions, languages of many peoples historically associated with different religions. The discourse of Tatarstan's uniqueness is a unifying discourse. It implies that Tatarstan is an integral part of the Russian Federation having a high economic, human, and cultural potential.

The views of the region's residents revealed during the mass questioning coincide with the elites' views on a number of issues. On the whole, they have the same vision of Tatarstan and Tatarstanians. At the same time the official brands are not familiar to the respondents. With a significant actualization of regional identity the degree of its manifestation and meaning differs among the representatives of different ethnic groups: for the Tatars the development of their language and culture is more significant than for other groups who prioritize socio-economic factors.

Keywords: territory branding, elites, discourse, ethno-cultural image, regional symbols, regional identity.

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared with the financial support of RGNF; the project «Territory branding in the context of Russian national integration: strategies of the creation of ethno-cultural image of the Republic of Tatarstan»», № 16-03-00071, leader: G.I. Makarova. I am grateful to all, who worked together with me on its implementation: L.E. Ilikova, A.S. Lobanova, A.V. Yatsyk, G.F. Ishkineeva, E. P. Demkina, P.O. Ermolaeva, M.I. Prygunova.

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