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Enemies of the people

Theorizing dispossession and mirroring conspiracy in the Republic of Georgia

Katrine Bendtsen Gotfredsen

Keywords: conspiracy theory; dispossession; morality; power; Republic of Georgia

This article connects a specific generational experience of having been dispossessed of former social status and political influence to suspicious theories of conspiracies and hidden connections. Th rough ethnographic cases from Georgia I argue that while acting as an explanatory framework for the personal experience of being economically and politically dispossessed, conspiracy theorizing may also work as an everyday means of reappropriating a morally meaningful social identity through the mirroring of a general form of political rhetoric and power. The theories analyzed in the article draw on socially and culturally recognizable registers and tap into a general atmosphere of suspicion and opacity in which mistrust of official accounts and rhetoric is reasonable and appealing. They thus work as a means of repacking generational and economical marginality into a broader framework that is of concern to the wider community and may be seen to represent an effort of reclaiming a moral high ground and being reinscribed into wider social and national domains.

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