Tengrism as a lived religion in Kazakhstan and its role in national identity building
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Tengrism has slowly been experiencing a revival in Turkic countries across the world, most notably in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia. This thesis seeks to explore the connection between Tengrism in Kazakhstan, national identity, and the theory of lived religion in order to better understand the relationship between this ancient religion and the people. This thesis relies on theoretical and historical frameworks along with an online survey, which was disseminated amongst 18-30 year olds living in Almaty. It consists of multiple choice, scaled, and short response questions. These responses have been coded in order to understand how this data supports, or denies, the framing of lived religion in Kazakhstan and whether or not Tengrism has a role in Kazakh national identity. It additionally explores the themes of promotion of the religion by both the media and potentially the government. The thesis is broken into seven chapters (Introduction, Literature Review, Theoretical Framework, Methodology, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion). This work is an exploratory study looking to fill the gap in research surrounding the study of Tengrism in both Kazakhstan but also as a cultural phenomenon rather than the traditional research. Through my survey, this research has found the deep-rooted role of Tengrism within Kazakh culture and in the role of identity amongst young Kazakhstanis, additionally has looked at the intersection of Islamic and Tengri traditions and their roles in Kazakhstani national identity.
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