New Life in Old Boots. Making One’s Home in a New Village after Collective Resettlement

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Sevil Huseynova
Sergey Rumyantsev

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Abstract

In 1989, during the Karabagh conflict, the inhabitants of an Azeri village in Armenia, Kyzyl-Shafag, and an Armenian village in Azerbaijan, Kerkendj, performed a peaceful population exchange. Drawing on participant observation and biographical interviews, this paper analyzes how the Azeri settlers made their new home in Kerkendj. It focuses on the preservation of the old cemetery and the creation of a new one, the use of the new houses as repositories of a memory of the exchange, and practices of acquiring local knowledge. We conclude that the population exchange was a means of preserving the social structure and integrity of the village community. The successful adaptation of the settlers was facilitated by the preservation of their customary social ties. Although many settlers moved on to Baku, those who remained managed to avoid a ghetto effect. In Russian, summary in English.
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