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Ethnogenesis And The Construction Of Ethnic Identities

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Chapter Summary

President Askar Akaev's constructed genealogy clearly links the Kyrgyz people of today and Balasagyn. Ethnogenesis had been a popular theory since the 1930s and was the predominant theory in much Soviet research. Although ethnogenesis supported independence movements, some of its proponents also used it to express chauvinism and xenophobia. Lev Gumilev's theory of ethnogenesis was distinctive because of its focus on biology, as opposed to socio-political factors. In his Addresses to the German Nation, Johann Gottlieb Fichte outlined his idea for the construction of the German nation through education. During the Soviet era, the study of ethnogenesis not only attempted to describe the origins of people, it was a teleological discourse which posited that separate ethnic identities would eventually be abandoned in favour of a broader socialist identity. Ethno-national leaders began to use Gumilev's theory to emphasize ethnic distinctiveness and their place in history.

Keywords: Askar Akaev; Balasagyn; chauvinism; ethnic identities; ethnogenesis; Johann Gottlieb Fichte; Lev Gumilev; Soviet era; xenophobia



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