Objective. The research was aimed at examining the possibilities of applying social network analysis to the study of ethnocultural identity of Russian adolescents.
Design. By creating a code in the language R (R 3.6.1 + R Studio 1.2.1335), the analysis of the relations of a number of communities of the social network «Vkontakte», whose content is relevant to various aspects of ethnocultural (ethnic, cultural, religious, regional, national) identity was performed. In these communities Moscow and St. Petersburg dwellers aged 14 to 18 years were identified and sampled (78,784 Moscow-based users and 210,815 St. Petersburg-based users). Based on the results, social graphs were constructed and the analysis of relations between communities in the two cities of Russia was carried out.
Results. The general tendencies and differences between the links of online communities, the content of which is relevant to various aspects of ethnocultural identity in the cities of Russia under consideration, are revealed. For the target category, Moscow-based and St. Petersburg-based user-adolescents, the online communities were considered to be most relevant between those with ethnic content. The differences relate to connexions between large community called «Russia» and other studied online communities. There is no connexion between all other communities from Moscow with community «Russia» while adolescents-users from St. Petersburg actively participate in the community «Russia», especially those who are in communities whose content is devoted to ethnic and cultural issues.
Conclusion. The results show the existing outlooks for the social networks analysis, which allows to cover a wide range of users of online communities, for the study of ethnocultural identity of adolescents in the digital society. Obtained by analyzing social networking data derived from user activity in Internet communities, reflect the regularities, identified through an earlier social-psychological study involving adolescents who live in the same area. The socio-cultural context mediates online identity and offline identity in a similar way, which is confirmed by the revealed differences in the connections of online communities in different subjects of the Russian Federation. Despite the long-term social network analysis in sociology and other sciences, psychology is using this method as exploratory tool. In relation to the study of ethnocultural identity and related phenomena SNA requires additional development based on the interdisciplinary interaction of various sciences and areas and the necessary comparison of the results with the results obtained by other methods.