Globalization and Nationalism: The Cases of Georgia and the Basque Country

By Natalie Sabanadze | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 4
Globalization and Georgian Nationalism

Georgia is one of those post-communist countries that lived through the dramatic upsurge of nationalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union and developed into what can be described as a hotbed of internal conflict, ethnic strife, and state failure. It made an abundant contribution to the so-called “seething cauldron” image of post-communist Eastern Europe having lived through turbulent transition, nationalist upheaval, civil war, and ethnonational confrontation. In other words, Georgian nationalism appeared as an exemplary representative of the so-called radical new nationalisms of the global era that seem to have resurfaced with surprising power under the influences of globalization. This chapter uses the case of Georgian nationalism for empirical investigation of the relationship between globalization and post-communist nationalism. In doing so, it addresses four main questions: What type(s) of nationalism developed in Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union? What changes did it experience in the course of its post-communist transition? What were the main sources of post-communist Georgian nationalism and what impact did globalization have on its strength, character, and development?

The chapter begins with the brief overview of historic roots of Georgian nationalism that go back to the 19th and early 20th century. It then moves on to the discussion of the Soviet legacy, arguing that contemporary Georgian nationalism can be seen as a product of the Soviet nationality policies which, on the one hand, folklorized national identities, and on the other hand, institutionalized them in state structures. This policy had resulted in what I describe as the rise of folk nationalism in Soviet Georgia with significant consequences for its post-communist transition. After exploring the nature of contemporary Georgian nationalism and its main influences, the chapter moves on to the discussion of the three main phases in the development of post-communist nationalism in Georgia. For each phase respectively, it explores the

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