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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2, 2006

Social and Political Philosophy

Olga Volkogonova
Pages 227-232

Forming an Ethnic Identity
The Role of Myth

In transitional societies, a search for ethnic identity becomes the most common form of personal response to the destruction of customary forms of social life. The sense of ethnic unity can arise spontaneously or be formed by ideologists. Ethnic stereotypes play a crucial role in embedding national myths into people's consciousness, and the effectiveness of their influence is practically independent of their accuracy. The system of perception stereotypes of a nation almost always adds up to a holistic myth of that nation that includes mythologems of different levels (from routine perceptions to historical-philosophical theories). Thus, one can say that turning mass consciousness towards a national myth is the main method of the formation of national identity.

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