They can provoke, but they cannot influence: How Armenians negotiate their identity in the Georgian state-building process

Frida Dunger Johnsson & Liv Bjerregaard Jensen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The thesis examines the socio-political situation in Georgia in regard to Armenians’ opportunities to develop a sense of belonging in the state-building process. The theoretical framework employs an interdisciplinary approach incorporating analytical tools from social and political science as well as cultural and anthropological studies. The report also applies a qualitative research approach by drawing on a field study conducted in Georgia in April 2011. In the analysis we investigate three levels of the Georgian state-building process in regard to Armenians’ identity formation. 1) A meso level including an analysis of the socio-political development in relation to national politics, elites, networks, institutions and organisations. 2) A micro level incorporating an in-depth analysis of the Armenians’ sense of belonging and their ability to negotiate a cultural heritage. 3) The analysis takes a macro perspective by focussing on how external players influence the government’s strategy towards Armenians. The findings indicate that Armenians lack opportunities to influence the Georgian state-building process, due to a number of reasons. Among them is Armenians’ exclusion from the political elite, which is seen to govern the country and consequently Armenians only have limited political authority. Furthermore, Armenians feel alienated by the government’s nationalistic discourse, hence there is a tendency that they develop a stronger sense of belonging to Armenia or a region rather than to Georgia. When Armenians are not recognised in the national identity, there is a risk of increasing the gap between Armenians and Georgians, and instead of having a unified Georgia it creates breakaway regions and separatist movements. In extension to the territorial tensions, external players such as neighbouring countries and international institutions are seen to have a major impact on Georgia’s political sphere. This is due to Georgia’s interests in obtaining a membership in the EU and NATO, two bodies which in turn demand that international standards are being followed.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato31 aug. 2011
VejledereEbbe Prag


  • state-building process, elite, informal network, power relations, sense of belonging, nationalism, democracy, citizenship, Armenians, Georgian government