INSTRUMENTALIZATION AND IMAGINATION OF ETHNICITY: KARTVELISM AS AN INVENTED TRADITION

Maxim KIRCHANOV


Maxim Kirchanov, D.Sc. (Hist.), Associate Professor, Department of Regional Studies and Economics of Foreign Countries, Faculty of International Relations, Voronezh State University Federal State Budgetary Institution of Higher Professional Education (Voronezh, Russian Federation)


ABSTRACT

The author analyzes the problems of Kartvelism as an invented political tradition in modern Georgia. This article is an attempt to use inventionist approaches for the analysis of the history and actual trends and tendencies in the developments of Georgian nationalism and Georgian identity. Methodologically, the article is based on the principles, proposed in 1983 by British historians Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger in their classic book The Invention of Traditions. The present author presumes that Kartvelian myth has become an important and influential intellectual tradition, an element of cultural practices and social strategies. The author analyzes various forms of Kartvelism as an invented political tradition, including the language and ideas of the national mission. He states that the secondary school and the university humanitarian historical and philological education has become the important channel for development and actualization of Kartvelism as an invented tradition. The centralized system of studying, teaching and popularizing the Georgian language, history and literature, as the basis of ethnic identity, promotes the regular actualization of Kartvelism as an invented political tradition in contemporary Georgia. The Georgian language, history and literature and actualization of their Kartvelian character are important structural elements and parts in the development of invented political traditions, which Georgian intellectual and political elites use to develop Georgian identity as both political Georgian and ethnic Kartvelian.

Keywords: Georgia, Kartvelism, ethnicity, invented traditions, modernism, instrumentalism, instrumentalization of ethnicity.


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