SELF, GROUP, AND SOCIETY: EMERGENCE OF NEW POLITICAL IDENTITIES IN THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA Philip James Murphy, PhD University of Pittsburgh, 2008

The Republic of Macedonia provides an illustration of how a society’s identities reciprocally affect government and politics. This research investigates the extent to which Macedonia is developing a stable and cohesive society and contrasts more traditional investigations that treat identity as coextensive with fixed ethnic boundaries. This study employs an inductive approach to identity formation by investigating how individual beliefs and values function within a society. To accomplish this, a method for discerning and characterizing identity groups was employed, generating a rich mixture of qualitative and quantitative data.

Fieldwork took place in two stages in 2005-2006. In stage one, university students across Macedonia (n=109) were interviewed using an adaptation of George Kelly’s repertory grid technique, a semi-structured interview procedure. In stage two, a national follow-up survey (n=496) based on those findings was administered to a random sample of Macedonia’s general population, allowing for an evaluation of initial results. Multidimensional scaling, factor analysis, generalized procrustes analysis, and a measure of cognitive homophily were employed to identify and assess similarities and differences among identity groups. This multitier approach

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made it possible to discern unifying themes that contribute to the previously unrecognized growth in civic identity that is beginning to span ethnic divisions in Macedonia. Although ethnic designations remain important to the assessment of identity, research findings support the contention that emergent identities in this new state are not categorically deterministic. This implies that some members of society are developing identities more strongly associated with Macedonia’s viability as a state than with ethnic and other designations.

The methodology employed in this study offers an emic perspective that permits inductively derived comparisons, rather than etic comparisons that limit investigations to easily identifiable fixed categories. The emic methodology, operationalized through the repertory grid technique and Kelly’s theory of constructivist alternativism, elicits culturally relevant frames of reference in a manner that preserves the meanings attached by members of society while minimizing the effects of the researcher’s own cultural and intellectual biases. This is a promising methodology for investigating potentially emergent identities in other regions and communities where cultural misconceptions pose potential barriers to societal stability.

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emergence of new political identities in the republic of macedonia

SELF, GROUP, AND SOCIETY: EMERGENCE OF NEW POLITICAL IDENTITIES IN THE. REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA. Philip James Murphy, PhD. University of Pittsburgh, 2008. The Republic of Macedonia provides an illustration of how a society's identities reciprocally affect government and politics. This research ...

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