De-secularizing national space in Georgia

Abstract : Construction of a new presidential palace on the model of the White House, erection of new buildings; conversion of the old city of Signaghi into a Disney Land style Potemkin village; replacement of city centre oriental "bazaars" by Western style shopping malls: Georgia is under construction. The direct involvement of the public authorities in the landscaped drawing constitutes a well anchored tradition. Sufficient to remind the statues of Lenin, propaganda posters, or the folkorisation of the city through the restoration of "Old Tbilisi" in late Soviet time to understand that issues at stakes in transforming the urban cityscape are not only economic (real estate speculation, etc..) but also highly political: it aims at erasing the traces of the Soviet past and at making visible the governmental program of modernization, including in its rationalist and hygienist dimension, and rapprochement with the West. Space has not to be understood only in a geographic conception. Pierre Nora reminds that the word « space » is torn between two poles of meaning, history and geography: in one respect, it refers to a territory, limited by borders inside which the power is exercised, in another to nature, these two poles being indissolubly connected in the definition of French national identity2. Numerous studies have indeed scrutinized the process by which space is invested by the forms of power and have analysed the link between the appropriation of space and nation building.
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Identity studies in the Caucasus and the Black Sea Region, 2010, 2
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Silvia Serrano. De-secularizing national space in Georgia. Identity studies in the Caucasus and the Black Sea Region, 2010, 2. 〈hal-01533778〉

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