Zaza Shatirishvili
“Shota Rustaveli” Tbilisi Georgian Literature State Institute, Georgia

National narratives and Caucasian identity

When we speak, for example, about European or Western identities, less or more it is clear that in this case we mean a space of shared liberal values, common views on the human rights, more or less homogenised economical or legal space, etc.
From this viewpoint, the Caucasian identity is a concept rather problematic and blurred. There is no common Caucasian legal or economical space and even less there are shared liberal values. If by Caucasian identity we mean a kind of ethnical or linguistic community, then the situation becomes even more complicated. The only shared aspect is the colonial past within the framework of the Russian Empire and the inclusion in the borders of the Soviet Union.
As a social and cultural phenomenon, the Caucasus has a certain historical context. It emerged at the beginning of XIX century as a concept that belongs to the imperial discourse and an addendum of the imperial narrative. It is only in this context that we can speak about a Caucasian identity without controversy. Then, however, it will turn out that, for example, Georgia have not at all identified itself on common Caucasian grounds. On the contrary, in the framework of the Russian Empire, the Georgian public actively opposed the Caucasian mountaineers.
The national identity frames the national narratives. In the Georgian national narratives, the Caucasian entity is either completely lacking or its function is the one of the Antagonist.

Source: Zaza Shatirishvili “Shota Rustaveli” Tbilisi Georgian Literature …

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