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“Forward to David the Builder!”: Georgia's (re)turn to language-centered nationalism
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9923-0775
2016 (English)In: Nationalities Papers, ISSN 0090-5992, E-ISSN 1465-3923, Vol. 44, no 4, 522-542 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

After the Rose Revolution, President Saakashvili tried to move away from the exclusionary nationalism of the past, which had poisoned relations between Georgians and their Armenian and Azerbaijani compatriots. His government instead sought to foster an inclusionary nationalism, wherein belonging was contingent upon speaking the state language and all Georgian speakers, irrespective of origin, were to be equals. This article examines this nation-building project from a top-down and bottom-up lens. I first argue that state officials took rigorous steps to signal that Georgian-speaking minorities were part of the national fabric, but failed to abolish religious and historical barriers to their inclusion. I next utilize a large-scale, matched-guise experiment (n = 792) to explore if adolescent Georgians ostracize Georgian-speaking minorities or embrace them as their peers. I find that the upcoming generation of Georgians harbor attitudes in line with Saakashvili's language-centered nationalism, and that current Georgian nationalism therefore is more inclusionary than previous research, or Georgia's tumultuous past, would lead us to believe.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 44, no 4, 522-542 p.
Keyword [en]
Georgia, nationalism, minorities, language, matched-guise experiment
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-293607DOI: 10.1080/00905992.2016.1142519OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-293607DiVA: diva2:928050

Field research was supported by grants from Sixten Gemzéus stiftelse, the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), Forskraftstiftelsen Theodor Adelswärds Minne, Byzantiska resestipendiet, and Borbos Hanssons stipendiefond. 

Available from: 2016-05-14 Created: 2016-05-14 Last updated: 2016-08-02Bibliographically approved

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Berglund, Christofer
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