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Sociocultural Integration and Resolving Identity based Conflicts in the North Caucasus
Background/Objectives: The paper is devoted to research of sociocultural integration as a tool for resolving regional identity-based conflicts. The author focuses on the ability of sociocultural integration to de-escalate ethnic tensions and transform destructive identity-based conflicts. Methods: A systemic approach to analyzing sociocultural integration, while combining conflict-resolving and neo-functionalistic paradigms, is a methodological basis of this research. A concept of conflict of identities is an important methodological basis at the stage of exploring causes for an increased ethnic tension in the North Caucasus. Findings: The need to stimulate the sociocultural integration is caused by evaluative and structural causes: from the ethical point of view, the creation of an inclusive society is a fundamental societal goal; structural factors are related to the need to reduce the differences leading to social fragmentation and escalation of regional conflicts. The author considers systemic factors of identity-based conflicts and emphasizes a destabilizing role of the politicization of ethnicity. Among the structural conditions of the escalation of regional conflicts, the author calls: social inequalities, economic polarization, a contradiction between the system modernization and social disintegration. Discussing anticonflict mechanisms of sociocultural integration in the North Caucasus, it is necessary to consider the following. Firstly, sociocultural integration is a political project, the content of which is largely determined by issues of security of the multiethnic Russian society. Secondly, the development of the North Caucasus region after the end of armed conflicts shows the inadmissibility of isolationism within the Russian political space. Applications/Improvements: Sociocultural integration must serve as a conflict-preventive tool in this context, i.e. a pro-active action on the conflict environment by way of providing structural solutions for regional problems, transforming and rationalizing ethnic contradictions.
Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflicts, Ethnic Tension, Identity-based Conflicts, Politicization of Ethnicity, Regional Conflicts, Sociocultural Integration, The North Caucasus.
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