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New language policy of Kazakhstan: a project of kazakhization?

Narek Mkrtchyan

vol. VI(1)

Pages 106-119


The article aims to analyze the role and influence of the language policy

of independent Kazakhstan on identity construction processes of the Kazakhs.

A language as a marker of ethnic identity emphasizes the boundaries

of the particular ethnic entity. In the wake of post-Soviet nation-building,

Nazarbayev's administration faced with challenges regarding the use of

native language in various spheres. This paper also develops the claim

that the marginalization of Kazakh’s language and ethnic identity is the

result of different historical processes carried out by Tsarist and Soviet

authorities. The paper also tries to examine the language policy of

independent Kazakhstan as a counter-hegemonic struggle aiming at overcome

the negativity derived directly from Russian colonial administrations. The

publicization of Kazakh language and transformation of the educational

system tend to provide a wide range of opportunities to establish the

hegemony of Kazakh identity or in other words to make Kazakhs first

among equals.

Keyword: Kazakh language, colonization, hegemony, kazakhization, nationbuilding.

Narek Mkrtchyan
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