In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region
Edited By Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes
Citizenship or Ethnicity? National Identity and Insecurity in Southern Caucasia
Introduction: National Ideology, Identity and Securitization
ABSTRACT: This chapter analyses the interaction of insecurity and conflict with the various national ideologies and identities of the three recognized South Caucasus states – Armenia, Azerbaijan Georgia – through the Copenhagen School’s concept of securitization. The reified historiographies and resultant overlapping territorial identities within Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s national ideologies are seen as locking both states in a near-existential conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh through mirroring and fundamentally incompatible security narratives. By contrast, Georgia’s civic approach to national ideology following the Rose Revolution is seen as having offered some initial prospect for conflict resolution, at least before the 2008 war, by offering the possibility for an inclusive, multicultural Georgian identity.
KEYWORDS: South Caucasus, nationalism, security, ideology, identity, democracy, securitization theory, conflict
“Ancient hatreds”: this by now discredited myth of premodern attitudes lying behind the many ethnic conflagrations that plagued the Eurasian landmass following the fall of Communism has had a remarkable staying power in the popular mind (Bowen, 1996; Kaufman, 2001; Majtorovic, 1997). What is perhaps most remarkable is its persistence within the very societies involved in those confrontations: to various degrees, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Kosovars, Armenians, Azeris, Georgians, Abkhaz and Ossets tend to construct their own modern wars in terms of a long-term, Manichean battle for survival spanning centuries, including times when the very concepts of “nationhood” or “ethnicity” were of little political significance.
As this chapter will argue, in the South Caucasus at least, this naturalization of ethnic hatreds is intimately linked to the...
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