Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NEW BOOK: Cultural Archetypes and Political Change in the Caucasus. By Sergey Arutiunov (Author) & Nino Tsitsishvili (amazon.com)

Publisher: Nova Science Publishers (November 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607417391
ISBN-13: 978-1607417392

For the people of the Caucasus history and ancestral heritage signals something that must be taken into account and set as an example for present actions. Today the Caucasus is a region where ancient pre-Christian and pre-Islamic rites of sun-worship, fertility, animal sacrifice, traditional moral views and cultural nationalism co-exist with international programs of human rights and equity, democratic political and governance structures, international jazz festivals and youth culture. The book interrogates the Caucasus through the prism of two interrelated categories of discourse, namely 'cultural archetypes' and 'political change'. Cultural archetypes reflect the persisting significance of historical memory and association with the past in customs, rituals, religion, inherited social values, everyday activities and artistic expressions. Political change is about globalisation, transnationalism and the turbulent political transition from closed, isolated and economically disadvantaged nations to open, pluralistic and democratic societies with more economic potential based on market economies that the Caucasian nations are currently experiencing. The book searches for crossroads between the two - how political changes can be based on existing cultural values and how cultures can serve as political discourse. Since recent political changes and future of the Caucasus are related to the establishment and possibility of building Western-style liberal democracy, many scholars and politicians contemplate whether it is feasible to build Western-style democracy while simultaneously preserving local social values. Will these nations go through the same way to democracy as did the West, or will they hold on to their unique physiognomy? Can traditional expressive cultures in the Caucasus preserve unique identity while political and social values will keep changing? The book does not provide a decisive answer, but by interrogating such persisting dichotomies as 'progressive' and 'static', 'pragmatic' and 'non-pragmatic', 'individualistic' and 'collectivist' societies, it certainly furthers our understanding of the relationship between the political and cultural realms of the Caucasus nations in comparison with those of the West.

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