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From tradition to civility: Georgian hospitality after the Rose Revolution (2003-2014)

Curro, C; (2017) From tradition to civility: Georgian hospitality after the Rose Revolution (2003-2014). Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis explores the relation between hospitality and civil values. I focus on articulations and performances of hospitality in Georgia after the Rose Revolution (2003-2012). Drawing upon data collected through participant observation and follow-up interviews, the thesis analyses hospitality practices which rest on the blurred boundaries between the public and the private. My argument challenges the negative view of unofficial practices grounded in local contexts as being detrimental to democratisation. I highlight the ambivalence of hospitality practices and maintain that their embeddedness in local civic traditions of solidarity and reciprocity is a potential source of democratic values vis-à-vis the social fragmentation generated by the modernisation project implemented by the post-revolutionary political leadership. On the one hand, political elites stereotyped hospitality as a national specific, used to promote the country to outsiders. On the other hand, everyday hospitality was regarded as a backward practice associated with grey zones of informality which hindered the country’s modernisation. Focusing on the ambivalence emerging from people’s articulations and performances, I investigate the tension between hospitality traditions and modernisation narratives across three dimensions: increasing social inequalities predicated upon images of otherness, the negotiation of ascribed identities (notably gender and generational) amid individual and collective change, and the transformation of urban public space. My analysis shows that the political leadership’s obliviousness to the ambivalent effects which hospitality has on people’s everyday lives divided society deeply, while at the same time undermining the legitimacy of institutions. Highlighting dramatic inconsistencies at the heart of modernisation narratives, I explore the potential of hospitality practices as the basis for enacting social justice and democratic participation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: From tradition to civility: Georgian hospitality after the Rose Revolution (2003-2014)
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: hospitality, civility, ambivalence, Georgia, neoliberalism
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1559634
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