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Introduction to a thematic issue of the same title. The social sciences in the South Caucasus are politicized, marginalized, and institutionally weak. This is due to four factors: lack of professional training, lack of a professional community and widely accessible journals, low academic salaries, and a brain drain to local offices of international organizations. Local nationalisms preclude scholarly diversity and dissent. Western studies of the Caucasus are gradually shedding Orientalist preconceptions. Anthropologists in particular have done pioneering research in Georgia and Armenia, though less so in Azerbaijan. They speak the local languages and spend extended periods of time in the field. However, Western scholars are often excluded from local debates because their knowledge of Russian is poor. This issue presents research by young social scientists from the Caucasus in order to launch a debate with Russian-speaking colleagues. In Russian and English.
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