B1: Religious Diversity between Regulation and Everyday Practice

PD Dr. Tsypylma Darieva (ZOiS)

Project description

The logic of religious diversity and the dynamics of inter-faith relations in the post-Soviet “South” remain insufficient researched, even though they are highly relevant for this region. Oftentimes the South Caucasus is furthermost associated with conflict, violence and displacement.

Against this background, the project investigates how ethnic and religious diversity is negotiated and regulated institutionally and in everyday life in the South Caucasus. It aims to explore legal and customary regulations of difference, the role of religious actors in inter-ethnic conflicts and local perspectives on complexity and peace formation in ethnically and religiously mixed settlements (rural and urban neighborhoods). Based on qualitative research methods, the study explores these issues related to everyday peace practices at contested and shared places, informal institutions of regulation and initiatives on local and regional level in (post)Soviet Georgia and Azerbaijan. Additionally, the project seeks to identify contemporary forms of civic engagement (NGOs) and strategies of conflict avoidance.  And it will generate empirical data on cooperation initiatives in selected places and contribute to the studies of diversity as a process.

Key questions

  • Who are the main local and transregional actors involved in the regulation and practices of living together after the conflict?
  • What is the role of religious leaders and civic activists in the escalation and de-escalation of conflicts?

Methodology and sources

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Semi-structured interviews with experts
  • Ethnographic observation at selected places

Project team

Partner in Georgia

Prof Dr. Ketevan Gurchiani 

Professor of anthropology at Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia.

She is particularly interested in lived religion, the domesticated and undomesticated nature of the city, and informal practices of resistance.

Ketevan Gurchiani at ISU

Dr. Tinatin Khomeriki

Tinatin Khomeriki is a social and cultural anthropologist and an Assistant Professor at the Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia. She defended her doctoral thesis titled Vernacular Security in Tbilisi in 2023.

Her ongoing research interests include urban anthropology, post-socialist transformations, (in)security, and (mis)trust.

Tinatin Khomeriki at Free University Tbilisi

Sopiko Rostiashvili

Sopiko Rostiashvili is a sociologist and researcher of migration and ethnic minorities at Batumi University, Georgia. She acquired a master’s degree in Sociology from Ilia State University in 2022. She thesis is titled “Svan migrant’s self-assertion practices in Dmanisi, Kvemo Kartli”

Her interests are migration, environmental migrants, ethnic and religious minorities, the co-existence of diverse ethnic groups, ethno-religious nationalism, and migration in Georgia.

Partner in Azerbaijan

Yuliya Aliyeva

Instructor in Social Sciences, SPIA, ADA University, Baku, Azerbaijan; PhD Candidate at the Institute for Comparative Cultural Research and the Study of Religions at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.

She is particularly interested in Theories of Religion and Culture, Multiculturalism and Managing Diversity, Feminisms and Translocalities and Qualitative Social Research.

Yuliya Aliyeva at ADA

Dr. Aneta Strzemżalska

Journalist at Journal “Nowa Europa Wschodnia”.

She is particularly interested in Political anthropology, anthropology of war, nationalism, ethnography of the Caucasus, religious movements.