New publication in Slavic Review. Interdisciplinary Quarterly of Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. (73, 2)
Katrine Bendtsen Gotfredsen: Void Pasts and Marginal Presents: On Nostalgia and Obsolete Futures in the Republic of Georgia
In contemporary Georgia and beyond, nostalgia for the Soviet past is often ridiculed and dismissed as a reactionary wish to turn back time. In this article, however, I explore generational nostalgia as temporal displacement of present political struggles. Drawing on life story interviews with middle-aged and elderly people in the provincial town of Gori, I argue that nostalgic longings may be understood as active attempts to presence personal pasts and futures that have publicly been rendered absent by an official rhetoric and practice that explicitly rejects the Soviet past. From this perspective, post-Soviet generational nostalgia temporally connects several dimensions of absence: the experience of one’s personal past being publicly cast as void; a perceived lack of social security, influence, and significance in the present; and a dynamic whereby these two dimensions render former dreams and visions for the future obsolete.