"Who and Where are We?": Landscapes as mediums of Identity Negotiation for Georgia's Azeri-Turks
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 27, Number 4, Fall 2019
- pp. 443-477
- Additional Information
When searching for some reflection of themselves in Georgia's official narratives, policies, and symbolic landscapes, members of the country's minority groups are often left to ask, "Who and where are we?" The existence of a territorial state by the name of Azerbaijan next door complicates matters for Georgia's largest minority group, the Georgian Azeri-Turks, in that members of this group are widely considered "Azerbaijanis," or as belonging historically to the territorial state of Azerbaijan rather than to Georgia. In this article, symbolically imbued landscapes are framed as sites wherein narratives of identity are articulated, negotiated, and, at times, contested by members of the Georgian Azeri-Turkic community in the border region of Kvemo Kartli. By highlighting the ways in which community leaders problematize official control over symbolic landscapes in the region, I seek to answer the following question: How do encounters with national identity narratives in the landscape affect or reflect understandings of collective identity among the Georgian Azeri-Turks of Kvemo Kartli?