O. A. Bogatova, E. I. Dolgaeva. The City in Theory and in Practice: Factors of Social Identity Formation of the Capital of Republic within the Russian Federation

UDК 316.334.56 

DOI: 10.15507/2413-1407.119.030.202202.447-469


Introduction. The paper is devoted to the theoretically and practically relevant issue of constructing the social identity of the administrative centers of the Russian republics, considered by the authors as one of the factors of positive regional self-identification of the population of the republics. The purpose of the article is, based on the materials of the study, to identify the specifics and factors in the formation of the capital’s identity of the republic within the Russian Federation on the example of Saransk (the Republic of Mordovia).

Materials and Methods. The empirical basis of the article consists of the data of quantitative (mass survey of the population of Saransk, n = 443) and qualitative (2 focus groups) field studies carried out in November-December 2020, with the help of which specific features, main structural components and factors of formation of a positive metropolitan identity have been identified.

Results. In the structure of the capital identity of the population of Saransk, the system-forming component is identification with the capital status of the city, indirectly based on identification with the status of Mordovia as a republic and its representations in the urban environment. The paper demonstrates that a positive identification with the republican capital is formed on the basis of not so much symbolic politics but factors that create urban identity in general, including economic success and the quality of the urban environment.

Discussion and Conclusions. The authors conclude that the main limitations of the formation and maintenance of the capital identity of Saransk are associated with a shortage of urban identity in general, due to a low assessment of the state and prospects, a low level of self-organization at the place of residence and the rotation of the urban population in each generation, which forms the “transit city” identity for a part of the population. The basis of urban identity in Saransk, as in larger cities, is made up of networks of “weak ties”, but the quality of the urban environment, in the opinion of its residents, does not contribute to the formation and development of such contacts. On the basis of results of researches, the authors claim the necessity of studying of city activism for the cities which are not among largest, as an independent research problem.

Keywords: urban studies, capital city identity, urban communities, urban identity, Saransk, region, republics within the Russian Federation

Conflict of interests. The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Funding. The research for this article was done with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project № 20-011-00588 “Construction of the social identity of the capitals of the republics within the Russian Federation population (on the example of the Republic of Mordovia and the Udmurt Republic)”.

For citation: Bogatova O.A., Dolgaeva E.I. The City in Theory and in Practice: Factors of Social Identity Formation of the Capital of Republic within the Russian Federation. RegionologyRussian Journal of Regional Studies. 2022;30(2):447469. doi: https://doi.org/10.15507/2413-1407.119.030.202202.447-469


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Submitted 25.08.2021; approved after reviewing 09.11.2021; accepted for publication 25.11.2021.

About the authors:

Olga A. Bogatova, Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Work, National Research Mordovia State University (68/1 Bolchevistskaya St., Saransk 430005, Russian Federation), Dr. Sci. (Sociology), ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5877-7910bogatovaoa@gmail.com

Evgenia I. Dolgaeva, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Work, National Research Mordovia State University (68/1 Bolchevistskaya St., Saransk 430005, Russian Federation), Cand. Sci. (Sociology), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1256-7384ewgiv@mail.ru

Contribution of the authors:

O. A. Bogatova – working out of the research project concept, the program and questionnaires of research; collection, processing and analysis of the information; writing and critical analysis of the text of the article.

E. I. Dolgaeva – working out of the program and questionnaires of research; collection, processing and analysis of the information.

All authors have read and approved the final version of manuscript.

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