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Tatar Groups in Vkontakte: The Interplay between Ethnic and Virtual Identities on Social Networking Sites


Suleymanova, Dilyara (2009). Tatar Groups in Vkontakte: The Interplay between Ethnic and Virtual Identities on Social Networking Sites. Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media, 1(2):37-55.

Abstract

Vkontakte is a popular Russian online social network where, among other things, users can create thematic groups and invite people to join them to exchange information, meet other users, and discuss different issues. In this article, I focus on groups that are formed around issues related to Tatars, the second largest ethnic group in Russia. On the basis of my study of Tatar groups, I argue that Vkontakte is a powerful tool for ethnic networking that connects Tatars from all over Russia, while also functioning as an instrument of ethnic identity construction and negotiation. On the one hand, Tatar groups reproduce and mobilize traditional representations of what it means to be Tatar with topics of the Tatar language or Islam being the central ones. On the other hand, some Tatar groups represent alternative versions of Tatar identity, reviving pre-Islamic religious beliefs such as Tengriism or constructing alternative ethnic identities.

Vkontakte is a popular Russian online social network where, among other things, users can create thematic groups and invite people to join them to exchange information, meet other users, and discuss different issues. In this article, I focus on groups that are formed around issues related to Tatars, the second largest ethnic group in Russia. On the basis of my study of Tatar groups, I argue that Vkontakte is a powerful tool for ethnic networking that connects Tatars from all over Russia, while also functioning as an instrument of ethnic identity construction and negotiation. On the one hand, Tatar groups reproduce and mobilize traditional representations of what it means to be Tatar with topics of the Tatar language or Islam being the central ones. On the other hand, some Tatar groups represent alternative versions of Tatar identity, reviving pre-Islamic religious beliefs such as Tengriism or constructing alternative ethnic identities.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:790 Sports, games & entertainment
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
950 History of Asia
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:12 Mar 2010 11:07
Last Modified:04 May 2016 09:39
Publisher:University of Leeds
ISSN:2040-462X
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://www.digitalicons.org/
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-31943

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