Co constructing National Identity in the Era of Identity Chaos
At cognitive level, preliminary idea of nation and existence of a national group is essential to have a sense of national identity. For adolescents, evolving concept of social groups and possible affiliations with them starts during this period. Factors such as process of socialisation, schooling and exposure to media determines how an adolescent conceptualises the nation and reflects attachmentwith it. As adolescents are considered as the future citizens, this study aimed at tapping their perceptual understanding of nation. This study was conducted with volunteer adolescent students from senior secondary sections of four Delhi based school. They wrote essays on Indian national identity organised according to cue questions, given beforehand. Based on legibility and content appropriateness, 130 essays were selected for further grounded theory analysis. National identity was defined using references from native cultural constituents, such as norms, heritage, traditions, customs, and social values. Identity derived from nation was positive and filled with pride when contents were about patriotism and multiculturalism. However, sharp comments on perceived inadequacy of government were supported with appalling cases of disharmony. The expressions elucidating national identity were described more on the basis of external events than self-references. A possible inference may be drawn that adolescents’ experienceswere in formative stage and hence were restricted to terminologies acquired from popular media.
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