Waiting for change: temporalities of the un-eventful in post-revolutionary Georgia
(University of Copenhagen)
Paper short abstract:
Through an ethnographic exploration of the temporal aspects of perceived uneventfulness and absence of change in a provincial town, the paper argues that in post-revolutionary Georgia, the modes and moods of the uneventful shapes real and perceived absences of political agency and transformation.
Paper long abstract:
The republic of Georgia is, in particular since the 2003 Rose Revolution that brought the present government into power, often depicted as a place of rapid and radical political transformation and development. This imaginary is particularly nurtured by the government, but also, albeit with certain reservations, international actors such as the EU, US, NATO etc. In this proposed paper I explore how practical and discursive manifestations of this seemingly radical change are accompanied and countered by perceptions of presently uneventful and unchanging lives. The paper is based on fieldwork conducted in the provincial town Gori, which was an industrial Centre during Soviet time. Today however, most of the former industries and factories are closed down, and unemployment rates are high. From outsiders as well as locals, Gori is - contrary to the government discourse on a rapidly changing country - depicted as a place where little happens and little is changing. The paper will discuss how narratives and practices of people's perceived uneventful and unchanging lives oftentimes dwell on nostalgic and melancholic engagements with the past while disengaging from the politics of the present and passively waiting for an unpredictable future. Through an ethnographic exploration of these temporal aspects of modes and moods of un-eventfulness among my interlocutors, the paper argues that in post-revolutionary Georgia, such modes and moods of the uneventful shapes real and perceived absences of political agency and transformation.
Waiting for Godot & Co: modes and moods of the uneventful