Identity and violence: cases in Georgia

Kemoklidze, Nino (2015). Identity and violence: cases in Georgia. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis explores the nexus between identity construction and the outbreak of violence. It focuses on the cases of violence in Georgia in the early 1990s, in particular – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The author takes an historical, process-based approach to the question of how violence “came about” in Georgia. Using previously unpublished archival material and extensive, in-depth interviews, the author traces the process of the development of inter-ethnic relations in Georgia over the course of several decades and provides a detailed examination of how these relations evolved from tensions to violence. As the thesis demonstrates, ethnic fears and hostility between Georgians on the one hand and Abkhaz and Ossetians on the other – one of the important contributing factors to the outbreak of violence – were neither deep-rooted nor long-standing; rather, they were socially constructed. Still, despite its socially constructed nature, the author argues for bringing ethnicity back in the debate and proposes a more flexible, multi-layered analytical framework in order to integrate constructivist and primordialist views on ethnicity and ethnic group formation in the study of ethnic conflicts and violence. The result is a shift of analysis from self-centered manipulative elites to more “boundedly rational” actors who operate within a socially constructed reality shaped by Soviet nationality policies and historical and cultural narratives (embedded in myths and metaphors of ethnic groups concerned).

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government and Society, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races


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