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N.Chikovani:The Caucasus and the Balkans: Perspective of Comparative Analyzes

The Caucasus and the Balkans are interesting regions from the viewpoint of a comparative study. They came into the scope of interest of the world scientific and political circles since the end of the Cold War and through the subsequent developments. The Caucasus is quite often termed as the “Balkans of Eurasia”, pointing to the existing non-stable and explosive situation on ground. 

The following three aspects, out of many (problems of development on the crossroads; ‘Caucasianness’/‘Balkanness’ – perception from inside and outside; cultural-historical development in the imperial context (Byzantine, Turkey, Russia); totalitarian regimes (Soviet Union and Yugoslavia) and their peculiarities; the problems of the post-imperial development: identity crisis, problems of ethnic relations, conflicts, attitudes towards the past, etc.) will be addressed in the framework of the current paper, having interesting results from a comparative point of view and immediately coming into the scope of our attention.

The problems of development of the spaces located on the crossroads of cultures and civilizations are largely discussed in the modern scientific literature. The role of  existence on the crossroad, a kind of ‘betweenness’ are usually supposed as a stimulus for development. A constant interaction and coexistence of different cultural traditions are not perceived as a source of confrontation and conflict. Multiethnic and multicultural environment becomes a usual reality. ‘Cultural openness’ serves to be a natural and sole form of existence of the societies on the crossroads. It emerges as an adaptive mechanism for the people living in a complex and changing cultural environment. Self-identification is much more flexible and inclusive, although, through this last standpoint, situation is radically different at different times, which is determined by the various factors. The regional cultural areas are formed as a result of intensive migration processes and cross-cultural exchanges; they are characterized by the both - common characteristics, as well as with peculiar diversity.

The problem of regional identification is an interesting issue as well – perception of ‘Caucasianness’ and ‘Balkanness’ by the peoples of the regions and ‘others’, determination of their relations with the Western and Eastern worlds in different historical eras – which brings us to the close analyzes of the dynamics of ethnic, cultural and religious markers of self-identification. Several interesting studies were already conducted in this sphere, providing us with the fertile ground for the comparative study in this direction.

The comparative study of the post Cold War conflicts serves to be one of the interesting areas of research. The different perception of the past, conflicting memories and conflicting narratives are the important factors in the causing reasons of the conflicts. Quite often conflicts are preceded and accompanied by the ‘War of Historians.’ During the recent years the problems are widely discussed in the Caucasus and in the Balkans. The comparative analyzes of the available results will have a crucial outcomes and they can serve as a basis for the elaboration of concrete recommendations for the overcoming of the conflicting memories.

Category: Abstracts | Added by: margalita (18.10.2009)
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