Shakhnazaryan N. ., Ermolin D. S. Neighborship and Rescue Stories in a Comparative Perspective: the Conflicts in Kosovo and Karabagh
Nona R. SHAKHNAZARYAN — Candidate of Historical Sciences, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia (Armenia, Yerevan); Centre for Independent Social Research (Russia, St. Petersburg)
Denis S. ERMOLIN — Candidate of Historical Sciences, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, St. Petersburg)
ABSTRACT. The study belongs to the academic genre of anthropology of neighborship and everyday life and provides a retrospective analysis of complex paths of neighbors’ relations in one of the former Soviet republics (Azerbaijan) and an autonomous region of the former Yugoslavia (Kosovo). The authors look into such social phenomena as rhetor forms, representations of recognition and non-recognition, friendship and hatred in the neighbors’ relations in the face of ethnic cleansing and pogroms, their behavior and motivation of rescue agents. The descriptions of unparalleled violence can most often be qualified as difficult-to-talk- about traumatic narratives related to the “conflict”, problematic individual memory. However, eyewitness accounts demonstrate that humane acts also took place, in most cases by neighbors who chose the difficult path of opposing the ill will of the vengeful crowd. Studying the social and political context in which Azerbaijanis and Albanians shielded Armenians and Serbs from danger, we articulated many factors and actors of the social game. The major factors are the cultural meanings of such notions as neighborhood, urban landscapes, provinciality, competition for the access to social benefits and the new-rich culture. These concepts, which took the form of institutionalized practices, with the increase of the emotional tension of pogrom trends and violence, played more and more significant roles in both Karabagh and Kosovo conflicts.
KEYWORDS: Azerbaijan, USSR, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, ethnic conflict, neighborship, escape
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