Young Men, Time, and Boredom in the Republic of Georgia
Publication Year: 2013
In the midst of societal optimism, how do young men cope with the loss of a vibrant future? Young Men, Time, and Boredom in the Republic of Georgia provides a vivid exploration of the tension between subjective and societal time and the ways these tensions create experiences of marginality among under- or unemployed young men in the Republic of Georgia.
Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Martin Demant Frederiksen shows how the Georgian state has attempted to make the so-called post-Soviet transition a thing of the past as it creates new ideas about the future. Yet some young men in the regional capital of Batumi do not feel that they are part of the progression these changes create. Instead, they feel marginalized both by space and time—passed over and without prospects.
This distinctive case study provides empirical evidence for a deeper understanding of contemporary societal developments and their effects on individual experiences.
Published by: Temple University Press
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Council for Independent research. It forms part of a comparative research project on youth and futurity led by Anne line Dalsgaard, my dissertation advisor; the prospect of studying under Anne line was one of the reasons that I embarked on that endeavor, and she has been an in-valuable and inspiring part of the entire process as both a mentor and col-...
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August funfair. Apparently there is nothing for me to do here at all, at least so I’m told. Batumi, the regional center of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, in western Georgia, is new to me, although I have been here twice before on short visits in 2004 and 2005. Today, in mid-2008, only three years later, nothing is as I remember it. In 2004, when the local leader, ...
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...lthough his hair was turning gray and his lungs were failing him, aging too quickly, but socially he was unable to become a grown man. The criminal underworlds that dominated his hometown of Batumi during his childhood in the 1990s had been officially declared a part of the past, but they continued somehow to remain a presence in Emil’s life. ...
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Devils. Davit sits on the couch. I know him only as a thief, newly released from prison. He spent more than thirty years in various prisons during and after the Soviet era. Now he’s back in Batumi, his hometown. I ask him to tell me about the city, what it’s like today and what life for young people is like. He rolls a cigarette and looks at me, saying in Russian, “V tixom bo-...
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...uins encode a city with meaning, residing as they often do in a tem-poral space between abandonment and a potential future (Edensor 2005: 4). Rather than taking just one shape, they are manifold in form. In Batumi, some ruins were obvious, standing out in open spaces or partially hidden behind fences. Others had been absorbed partly by ...
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...n their study of the urban planning that created modern Paris, Michel de Certeau and his colleagues claim that Paris is a city of ghosts. The “already there”—that existed before the new structures of urban plan-ning arrived—remain in the city as uncanny beings, ancient scars in the new from a stubborn past (de Certeau 1998: 133). Whereas some ghosts, they ...
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...uring my first days in Batumi, as the war began, Nino, a local ac-quaintance, referred to the president as “King Fountain the First.” As she said, “All he does is build fountains! Yes, he also built some roads and made sure we have electricity; that’s also good, but what do we need all those fountains for?” The answer to this question seems to lie in ...
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...n the American film Groundhog Day (Ramis 1993), Bill Murray por-trays a TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Pennsylvania, finds himself in a time loop, re-peating the same day over and over again. At first he indulges in acts of hedonism and then becomes more and more desperate to end the loop by ...
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...n this chapter, I tell the story of a guy and a band and their life. A big blue iron gate stood before Gosha’s house. Scratched into the rusty paint were the words “mad family.” The gate was not there just to keep away trespassers but just as much to keep away society. Gosha lived in the house with his two brothers and his four-year-old son, who stayed with ...
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...to be able to make a living from their art—rap music and drawing, respectively. Like Gosha, they used their personal experiences and images of the “dark side” in their individual forms of expression; unlike Gosha, their way of relating to the future was not based on a single dream. Rather, it was a matter of day-to-day business. This chapter explores how ...
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Numb. Two English photographers I have come to know are in Batumi. They are looking for a local assistant who can accompany them on photo shoots to various locations in the city. They ask me if I know anyone rela-tively proficient in English who wants to earn some money for a few days’ easy work. I suggest that they contact either Elena or the DJ (a local young ...
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The bet. “I made a bet with Magu,” Emil says, smiling. “I was in his house yesterday, and we were talking about him drinking too much and me tak-ing drugs. I told him how, when I was smoking marijuana every day, I was sad, afraid, angry—that it changed every day and that it stopped when I stopped smoking. Magu has stopped drinking now because we made a bet. ...
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Post-its. The TV in the living room is on, showing a film on Kinoxit. A plate with small cakes and a sliced apple is on the table. Emil is making coffee. His mother comes in to say hello. She is wearing a lilac track suit and is on her way to the bulvar for a run. The table is next to a bricked-up fireplace. On one side, windows face the yard, and on the far side, a small ...
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What’s going on? Muni wakes up when I reach his apartment at around 2:00 p.m. He meets me by the door. “Did you hear what one of Putin’s advisers said yesterday?” he asks, continuing without waiting for a reply. “He said that Russia will go to war with Georgia again on the sixth of June.” He gets dressed, and we go to Gosha’s house. On the way we pass ...
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...y argument in this section is that the future can be a haunting pres-ence in everyday life just as the past can be. Indeed, as Frederic much as the past is spectral; there are “traces of the future” in the present (Jameson 1995: 103). But how can the future be said to haunt the present, as something not yet there that nonetheless has to be recognized, that affects ...
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A thousand butterflies. Emil and I go to the beach. Cafés are being set up, including Bari White and Sector 31. We meet Giorgi. He and Elena broke up some weeks ago, and he seems to be burying himself in his work pre-paring Bari White—this summer he will be head bartender. Knowing that he won’t get a job at Sector 31 this year, Emil tries to persuade Giorgi to ...
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...“hauntology,” a play on “ontology” (best understood when pronounced in French). Hauntology, for Derrida, was meant to supplant ontology by replacing the priority of being and presence with a focus on what is neither completely present nor completely absent: the ghostly. As Frederic Jameson has pointed out, in Derrida’s writings such “spectrality” is not a matter of ...
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...mil and I meet soon after I arrive in Batumi in the spring of 2010 to visit the grave of Magu. “Hello Martin!” he yells as he sees me. “Let’s walk!” And so we do, for hours, as usual. Roma joins us after a while, and Emil suggests that we “drink like the homeless”—sitting at the beach for lack of a place indoors. We go to a supermarket to buy vodka ...
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Martin Demant Frederiksen is External Lecturer in the Department of Cross- Cultural and Regional Studies at the Centre for Comparative Cultural ...
Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Global Youth