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Small Social Groups of Asian and African Countries in Ethnic, Political, Religious, and Cultural Dimensions

Priority areas of development: sociology, humanitarian
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research: The study of processes and factors in the formation of new identities, the emergence of associations and social movements of small social groups in African and Asian countries, as well as the phenomena that occur during migrations of elements of these groups or intra culture beyond the Asian-African space. Small social groups are analyzed in the context of the discourse opposition of "positive and negative discrimination".

Methodology: The research methodology is based on the interdisciplinary approach using synthesis and analysis of the material. Certain parts of the project are found upon the classical Oriental studies methods: source and manuscript studies, fieldwork research methods (applied by the participants during the expeditions in the countries of the Middle East, East and South-East Asia), comparative research methods in folklore, language and socio-ethnographic data, as well as methods of content-analysis and  cross-cultural researches.

Empirical base of research: Empirical research base covers a wide range of sources: manuscripts constituting handwritten heritage of the peoples of the East; authentic versions of literary and folklore texts in the Oriental languages; musical notations; archive materials; mass media materials of Asian and African countries.

Results of research:

  • New information about small socio-cultural groups, processes of social and ethnocultural divergence and convergence in Asian-African societies, existing and potential opposition of identities, communities (groups) and social trends in the states of Asia and Africa was analyzed and introduced into scientific use
  • Basic principles of the concept “Minority vs. Majority” developed at the previous stage of the project were supplemented by an analysis of situations and interactions in the context of positive and negative discrimination
  • Both the systems of quotas and preferences for small social cultural groups, as a manifestation of positive discrimination, and the manifestations of  negative discrimination against various small social cultural groups in Asia and Africa have been considered;
  • Spiritual values ​​of local communities and social interests of small cultural groups have been viewed;
  • The results of studies conducted on the basis of the material derived from different cultures and social movements in Asia and Africa from different historical periods indicate that the policy of positive and negative discrimination can be applied sequentially or simultaneously to one group.
  • The further development of the theme of the project involves expansion of the empirical base and further identification of interaction patterns in the field of minority and majority in the context of the identification theory.
  • The study revealed that the predominant type of state relations to small social cultural groups is the combinated one, including elements of both positive and negative discrimination depending on the dominant connotation in the official identification characteristics of a particular SSCD. Recent manifestations of phobia (SSCD genocide) are relatively rare, as well as 100% positive discrimination

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The project results are used in the development of the curriculum and lecturing courses for students under the Bachelor program of “Asian and African Studies”, as well as while conducting expert activities in the fields of international contacts, international business and cultural exchange considering the specific of Asian and African regions


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