The Ethnographic Study of the Caucasus and Its Social Organization

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Alexander Formozov

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Abstract

Sergei Arutiunov, director of the Caucasus Department at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, discusses the institutional organization of the study of the Caucasus since Soviet times. In the Soviet Union, the South Caucasus was mainly studied by local ethnographers who were required to publish their work in local languages. Unlike the literature on the North Caucasus, much of the literature on the South Caucasus has remained inaccessible to Russian scholars. In the early 1980s, Moscow-based ethnosociologists began to study “interethnic relations” in the Caucasus, but political constraints limited what they could publish. Nowadays, contacts are hampered by the difficulty to obtain locally published literature, by constantly changing institutional arrangements in Caucasian academia, and, increasingly, by a new language barrier that is due to a decline in local students’ knowledge of Russian. In Russian, summary in English.

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