Saturday, January 25, 2014

SCIENCE: Being A State and States Of Being in Highland Georgia. By Florian Mühlfried (

It is an important contribution to the anthropology of the state, the Caucasus and it especially helps to conceptualise a group of people without falling in the trap of ethnic ‘groupism’, so present in many writings on the Caucasus.”  ·  Stephane Voell, Philipps University Marburg
This is an exceptionally ambitious study… it is highly original – no one else has written about these mountains before!”  ·  Chris Hann, Max Planck Institute Halle
“I found this to be a delightful manuscript on a badly needed subject.”  ·  Bruce Grant, New York University
“This book … will point the way to promising avenues for future research on the cultural and religious practices of the peoples of the Caucasus (and doubtless elsewhere).”  ·  Kevin Tuite, University of Montréal
( The highlands region of the republic of Georgia, one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics, has long been legendary for its beauty. It is often assumed that the state has only made partial inroads into this region, and is mostly perceived as alien. Taking a fresh look at the Georgian highlands allows the author to consider perennial questions of citizenship, belonging, and mobility in a context that has otherwise been known only for its folkloric dimensions. Scrutinizing forms of identification with the state at its margins, as well as local encounters with the erratic Soviet and post-Soviet state, the author argues that citizenship is both a sought-after means of entitlement and a way of guarding against the state. This book not only challenges theories in the study of citizenship but also the axioms of integration in Western social sciences in general.
Florian Mühlfried teaches in the Caucasus Studies Program at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena. Previously, he was a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and a visiting professor at the University of Campinas, Brazil. He is he author of Post-Soviet Feasting: The Georgian Banquet in Transition (2006, in German) and co-edited Exploring the Edge of Empire: Soviet Era Anthropology in the Caucasus and Central Asia with Sergey Sokolovskiy (2012).


Chapter 1. Of a Mobile Field
Chapter 2. Of Hidden Treasures in the Mountains and a State that Comes and Goes
Chapter 3. Of Reborn Citizens in a Post-Soviet Landscape
Chapter 4. Of Three Ways to Be a State
Chapter 5. Of Triple Winning and Simple Losing

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