Cultural Identity And Ethnic Identity

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Earlier in the interview Maya identifies herself as Russian and claims this is strongly tied to her father’s authoritative role in the family. Another aspect of the cultural self-identification is the choice of the religious beliefs, which is habitually made by the parents rather than a child himself and largely relies on the religion of the leading member of the family. Both Maya and Arsen, a 17 years old adolescent who identifies himself more with his Kazakh father than the German mother, claim that religion was chosen for them when they were very small and they follow the religion of their fathers because they have more power in the family. Arsen claims: “I am Muslim because my father is Muslim. We are rather secular, as we don’t read namaz or go to the mosque, but I would never eat pork for example. I feel myself Muslim.” Chidlren’s self-identification may seem to have patrilineal origins, as the majority of my informants tend to associate themselvs with their fathers’ ethnicities. This however is not the case of Dilyara, 28 years old half Uzbek half Kazakh, who says her mother had the defining role in her ethnic identity building process:
I would say I am more Uzbek than Kazakh even though I love my Kazakh relatives and see them a lot. I think both cultures are close to me as I grew up with mother’s Uzbek folk tales and Kazakh traditional meals my father likes so much. I speak Kazakh fluently and some Uzbek but if I need to make a choice I would say I am Uzbek…I think

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