Cultural Identity as a Discursive Product : Multiple Voices Towards Discursive Construction of Lazi Identity
Abstract: Ethno-linguistic diversities and the rights to enjoy and maintain indigenous languages and identities has been a central issue in the socio-political agenda of Turkey since the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. The Lazi have taken their part in the discussions concerning minority rights through the discourses of a group of Lazi activists since the early 1990s.This study aims to examine the discursive construction of Lazi identity with close attention to its various actors and the context in which the process is carried out. To this end, selected texts by the social actors who are involved in the Lazi identity building process are studied in terms of various functions of language contributing to the communicative production of discourses. The content of written and oral commentaries by various social actors who are influential in the Lazi identity building process is studied using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA).The study concludes that the construction of Lazi identity is an on-going process which is developed by influential social actors. The discourses of Lazi activists display a dilemma between the commitment to establish or re-establish a distinct Lazi identity with emphasis on a distinct language and culture rooted in ancient history and a determination to remain a component of the Republic of Turkey.
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