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Minderheiten in Armenien: Anmerkungen zum Problem ihrer Dokumentation

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image of Iran and the Caucasus

The article addresses both theoretical and methodological issues related to the documentation of ethnic minorities in present-day Armenia. Normally, Armenia is regarded as a prototypical example for a statehood that is marked for a homogenous ethnic composition. In fact, social groups typically referred to as ‘minorities’ constitute only some 2% of the total population. The minority map of Armenia includes fourteen groups two of which (Tats and Udis) represent migrants and refugees from Azerbaijan having arrived in Armenia as late as 1990. The documentation of the minorities in Armenia calls for a reconsideration of parameters of ethnicity and for the corresponding adjustment of methodology and descriptive patterns reflecting the peculiarities of ethnicity in Armenia. Most importantly, we cannot apply a unified, mono-dimensional perspective starting, e.g., from a parameter, such as ‘language’. Rather, we have to set up a weighted network of parameters that include both sociocultural and sociolinguistic features. The paper briefly illustrates this point with the help of preliminary data stemming from fieldwork related to the project “Minorities of Armenia: A Sociocultural and Sociolinguistic Survey”. It will be argued that the social construction of collective identity and ethnicity is controlled by both tendencies of growing self-awareness and likewise trends toward transcultural processes present especially in the diatopic and diastratic periphery of the given minorities.


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