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Ethnic mobilization in post-Soviet Georgia : the case of the Yezidi-Kurds

Ethnische Mobilisierung im postsowjetischen Georgien : der Fall der Yezidi-Kurden
[journal article]

Szakonyi, David

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Abstract 'The aim of this article is to examine the failure of the Yezidi-Kurdish minority to attain a high level of ethnic mobilization in order to protect its political and cultural interests after the fall of the USSR and the creation of an independent Georgia in 1991. This inability has intensified the threat of the complete cultural, religious, and linguistic assimilation of the Yezidi-Kurds into the wider Georgian society, instead of allowing the minority to achieve healthy integration into society and the preservation of its ethnic identity. The author argues that the convergence of three sets of factors best explains the present tenuous position of the minority. First, structural changes affected the ability of minority leaders to gather sufficient human and financial resources necessary for mobilization. Secondly, problems in determining a unified identity as well as conflicts between minority elites prevented the consolidation of the ethnic group and limited its organizational capacity. Lastly, Georgian state policies and larger societal trends have subtly contributed to the dismantling of certain core components of the Yezidi-Kurdish ethnic identity, thereby accelerating the process of assimilation. This article concludes with a discussion of the prospects of the Yezidi-Kurdish community in Georgia, arguing that only efforts to reunite the minority and cooperate with existing minority civil society structures will prevent the effective disappearance of the group in this country.' (author's abstract)
Keywords assimilation; developing country; success-failure; ethnic group; identity; identity formation; conflict; cultural factors; Kurd; minority; mobilization; Middle East; political factors; religion; language; Georgia; post-communist society; USSR successor state; post-socialist country
Classification Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology
Method applied research; historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages 19 p.
Journal JEMIE - Journal on ethnopolitics and minority issues in Europe, Vol. 6 (2007) 2
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
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