From late XIX century to the present, the study of nationalism has been marked by deep ambivalence and intractable ambiguity. On the one side, nationalism has been associated with militarism, war, irrationalism, chauvinism, intolerance, homogenization, forced assimilation, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, ethnic cleansing, even genocide. On the other side, nationhood and nationalism have been linked to democracy, self-determination, political legitimacy, social integration, solidarity, dignity, identity, citizenship etc. As Rogers Brubaker says, how people have evaluated nationalism has depended on what they have understood it to be. This conceptual ambiguity has engendered innumerable attempts at classification. The most well-known distinctions are voluntaristic and organic, political and cultural, liberal and illiberal etc. Among prevalent distinctions in the scientific circles, the one with the greatest resonance today is civic and ethnic understanding of nationhood and nationalism. This has been used to suggest that there are, fundamentally, only two kinds of nationalism: civic nationalism, characterized as liberal, voluntaristic, inclusive and ethnic nationalism glossed as illiberal, particularist and exclusive.
The paper aims to analyze beginning of the Post-Soviet period in Georgia in the context of ethnic and civic categories of nationalism. The most popular classification of nationalism (distinction between civic and ethnic forms) is taken as the theoretical framework of the research.
After dissolution of Soviet Union (more exactly since the time of “Perestroika”) Georgia had faced new political, social and cultural challenges what defined necessity of the national project formation for independent country. National project expresses a view of the society, political and public leaders how to realize national interests of the nation, what are main features of nationalism or nationalisms (in case of multiethnic state). An attempt for national project implementation has great influence on state-building process. National project contains internal as well as external directions for future development of state. This study is focused on internal characteristics of the phenomenon in Georgia and considers it in terms of civic and ethnic traits of nationalism.
Civic development of nationhood and nationalism for ethnically diverse Georgia was vitally important, but as a result of preliminary analysis we can make a hypothetical conclusion that the radical ethnic nationalism (not only from Georgians but also from other ethnic groups living on the territory of Georgia) played very destructive role in appearance of conflict situation between dominant people end national minorities in the research period. This contradiction put serious obstacles in the way of state-building and supported territorial disintegration.
In the framework of this research we will try to check up our hypothesis and to clear up main essence of the Georgian nationalism and national project at the time of emancipation from the Soviet Empire.
Comprehensive investigation of the past (particularly of the near past) in the context of nationalism studies is essential for future development of our country. Georgia is multiethnic state, thus national policy is in the tight relations with state-building process.