Young Kazakhstan students’ representations of regions of the country (a mental maps application)
PhD, Assoc. Prof., Department of History of Kazakhstan and Social Sciences, South Kazakhstan State Pedagogical University, Shymkent, Kazakhstan. firstname.lastname@example.org
PhD, Assoc. Prof., Department of Political Sciences and Sociology, Karaganda State University of the name of academician E.A. Buketov, Karaganda, Kazakhstan. email@example.com
In this article, which is based on the usage of the mental maps created by the Kazakhstani students, the common images of the regions of Kazakhstan are analyzed. The authors typologize the territorial perceptions of the regions depending on the visual and textual (associative words) materials. Territorial constructions, represented on the mental maps and through the associative words, illustrate a multi-component model of the mental “reality” of the country’s regions. The frequency of referring to the particular locations was the main parameter of the analyzing process. Besides the visual aspects, the hidden or not illustrated components of the students’ mind maps were of a great importance as well. To determine the degree of imaginability we have traced quantity of mentionings of one particular place, object or some other figures mentioned in the descriptions of students. The more mentionings of the same object are observed the higher was the degree of imaginability. This made it possible to figure out the dominant forms on the students’ mental maps. As a result, three main aspects of the perception of the country regions were formulated: “compass”, “network”, “toponymical”. The three zones of the degree of an awareness of respondents differed in the analysis of the associative words. There are (1) areas in which the respondents live themselves and the country’s capitals; (2) neighboring areas; (3) all other areas of the country. This research illustrated the presence of stereotypes of territorial locations and figurative content relative to the regions of the country.
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