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Enemies of the people

Theorizing dispossession and mirroring conspiracy in the Republic of Georgia

Katrine Bendtsen Gotfredsen

strange things. These were the words of Otar, a seventy-three-year-old man living in the provincial town of Gori in the Republic of Georgia. His account powerfully connects local faces (as that of former President Saakashvili) and concerns with global

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Translating Islam into Georgian

The Question of Georgian Muslim Identity in Contemporary Adjara

Ricardo Rivera

This forum piece provides a brief discussion of the mediation of religious and ethnic identity through language in Adjara, an autonomous region of southwestern Georgia. The piece considers the emergence of a consolidated ‘Georgian Muslim’ identity in the post-Soviet period. It thus sheds light on how language acts as a site for the navigation of religious and historical difference in Adjara.

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Babak Rezvani

political symbols such as flags and coats of arms. This article's focus of study are Muslim peoples and regions of Russia and Georgia. However, in order to put the results in a wider context and offer comparisons, sometimes other peoples and regions are

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Childless Women in Georgia

Between Religious Restrictions and Medical Opportunities

Elene Gavashelishvili

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is gradually becoming available in Georgia, but while the medical technologies are being developed, the Georgian Orthodox Church opposes the idea of having a child through what it declares to be unnatural ways. Despite the authority of the Church, the Orthodox discourse about IVF is not directly incorporated into the everyday lives of people. Ethnographical observation has allowed an exploration of how childless women in Georgia reconcile modern reproductive technologies with their religion. In order to explain the hybridity in women’s attempts to make official religiosity better adapted to everyday life, I use the concept of bricolage as applied to the social practices of women who assemble different, seemingly disjointed, resources in coping with problematic situations.

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To Russia with love

Hope, confinement, and virtuality among youth on the Georgian Black Sea coast

Martin Demant Frederiksen

Among young unemployed or underemployed men in the port city of Batumi, the regional center of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara in Georgia, the Black Sea is a social and imaginary horizon that signifies both geographical mobility and confinement. Since Georgia gained independence, Batumi went from being a Soviet borderland to being an opening to the West. However, due to visa regulations, “the West”—and the opportunities associated with it—has long been limited to the other Black Sea countries of Turkey and Ukraine. Following the August 2008 war, Russia, although being a much more desirable destination, became out of reach for the majority of these men. Through the notions of social and geographical horizons, this article argues that the young men, despite their sense of confinement, manage to forge alternative connections to Russia via Internet sites, where the online dating of Russian women was used as a means to gain access to Russia via marriage.

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Identity and Traditional Law

Local Legal Conceptions in Svan Villages, Georgia

Stéphane Voell, Natia Jalabadze, Lavrenti Janiashvili, and Elke Kamm

Traditional law continues to be relevant for the Svans (Georgians), who usually live in the highlands of the Caucasus, but who have also migrated to various parts of Georgia. To grasp its practice we draw on approaches in which its use is discussed as a strategy for '(re)asserting collective identities' (Benda-Beckmann) in order to enforce specific goals. But our research also shows another dimension of traditional law: more than in actual conflict resolutions, traditional law is found in narratives, that is in memories of how conflicts were resolved earlier and should be solved today. These stories, however, of how and when traditional law should be applied rarely correspond to lived reality. Drawing on Brubaker and Cooper, we argue that beside a rather instrumental motivated use of traditional law in asserting collective identities, its contemporary practice can only be fully understood if we also acknowledge its non-instrumental practice.

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Babak Rezvani

The Fereydani Georgians are Shi'a Muslims, while the Georgians of Georgia are predominantly Orthodox Christians. This article deals with the mechanism by which Fereydani Georgians reaffirm their Shi'a identity in harmony with the Iranian Georgians' role in the Iranian history. After discussing the theoretical foundation of the relationship between history and ethnic (and national) self-identification, the article describes how Fereydani Georgian identity is represented today and how important historical events are narrated in order to create a cohesive and coherent image of self - an outcome that is called 'emic coherence'. The concept of historical peak experience is introduced on an ethnic level.

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Eleni Sideri

The Caucasus was a zone of encounters for centuries, generating images of regional cosmopolitanism in the past. This vision creates expectations for the present, when it is included in the wider discussion about the meanings of cosmopolitanism today, its relation to modern geopolitics, and issues of social and political co-existence and recognition. This essay focuses on two different photographs that belong to different Greek families in Georgia. These photographs represent two different historical experiences of migration and pinpoint different understandings of cosmopolitanism. However, they both seem to stem from specific discourses about diasporas and their cosmopolitan character. The role of language in the construction of these discourses is fundamental. The essay compares photographic representations of the 'Greek Diaspora' in order to trace the perceptions of cosmopolitanism they generate, the cultural capital they carry, and its outcome in relation to Greek diaspora politics.

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Joyful pessimism

Marginality, disengagement, and the doing of nothing

Martin Demant Frederiksen

thus seen as results of individual intentions and desires having been rendered impossible because of certain external forces. In a previous study of unemployed young men in the Republic of Georgia, I have suggested that this contains a temporal aspect

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Looking Awry at Georgian Caricature

Lacan and the Satirists

David Morgan

scholarly approach to the visual satire of the Georgian era that properly acknowledges the Gordian intricacy of the relationship between words and images that prevails within such texts. 1 This article attempts to redress that lack by offering a more