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Accepted Paper:

Forced to the inbetweenness: Non-Abkhazian residents in the search of their group identity in Abkazia's Gali region.  
Astamur Jikhashvili

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper analyses the strategies used by the new generation of non-Abkhazian residents of Georgia's breakaway region to accommodate their conflicting identities and to coexist in an environment where their group identity is subordinated.

Paper Abstract:

"There are as many Megrelian surnames as there are Abkhazian surnames," one of my grandmothers, herself the daughter of a Megrelian father and an Abkhazian mother, used to tell me. Decades after the defeat of the Georgian side in the war over Abkhazia, this phrase seems to reveal some identity-building strategies among the young Megrelian inhabitants of the breakaway region: Abkhazia, whose independence is backed by Russian military presence, has since been seen as the exclusive domain of Abkhazian nationalism, meaning that other nationalisms - especially Georgian - do not belong here. This restriction, however, poses a challenge to those who do not already belong to the dominant group, but who stayed or returned home after the violent conflict, forcing them either to dig deep into the (invented) past to find Abkhazian roots, or to use the local Megrelian language instead of Georgian - in both cases forcing them to cut themselves off from Georgianness - the suppressed identity in Abkhazia - and thus from their own Georgian kin on the other side of the conflict zone. This paper therefore analyses the strategies used by the new generation of non-Abkhazian residents to accommodate their conflicting identities and to coexist in an environment where their group identity is subordinated.

Panel P107
Doing and undoing kinship under military occupation
  Session 2 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -