Georgians and other ethnic groups: understanding (in)tolerance
From the events of May 17th, 2013 when Orthodox priests and their supporters attacked demonstrators at an International Day Against Homophobia rally, to more recently when “sausage-wielding nationalists” attacked a vegan café in Tbilisi, various forms of intolerance have put Georgia into headlines internationally in recent years.
The coming posts on Social Science in the Caucasus will use CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer data (CB) to explore indicators of ethnic (in)tolerance in Georgia. Specifically, we use two questions:
- Can you please tell me whether you approve or disapprove of people of your ethnicity doing business with an [ethnic group]?
- Would you approve or disapprove of women of your ethnicity marrying an [ethnic group]?
The blog posts in this series only report the answers of ethnic Georgians.
The data reveals a number of interesting trends and patterns. Today’s post looks at which ethnicities Georgians approve of doing business with and how (dis)approval has changed over time. Diving further into this issue, the second post looks at how (dis)approval of doing business with other ethnicities differs by age and settlement type. The third post mirrors the second, looking at (dis)approval of Georgian women marrying non-Georgians by age, settlement type, and education level.
Part 1 of this series is available here.
What are young people’s values and how are these different from older generations’ values in Georgia?As Georgian society is going through social and cultural changes, it is important to understand people’s beliefs and values. Comparing the values of young people to those of the older generations is also important. This blog post summarizes the findings of a study that examined the values of young people aged 18 to 25, and analysed how these values are different from the values of older people in Georgia, based on both quantitative (World Values Survey, 2014) and qualitative data (40 in-depth interviews conducted in 2016). The study looked at values, perceptions, attitudes and tolerance towards different minority groups in Georgia. It concludes that in many cases, the younger generation shares more modern views and values, while the older generations are more inclined to support traditional values and hold conservative points of view.
Surveys carried out in Georgia and in Armenia in 2009 and 2019 asked respondents if they approved or disapproved of doing business with or marriages with people of 12 other ethnicities. So, are Georgians and Armenians becoming more or less tolerant?
Data from the Caucasus Barometer has consistently suggested that Georgians and Armenians are more tolerant of doing businesses with other ethnicities than they are of inter-ethnic marriages.
The data suggests that although the wars have led many in Georgia to see a potential threat of ethnic minorities to the country’s security, people are also conscious of the need for tolerance.
The social and political integration of ethnic minorities remains a challenge for the long-term democratic development of Georgia. But could ethnonationalist sentiments be hindering such integration?
Considering that one in seven Georgian citizens is of non-Georgian ethnic descent, ethnonationalism has the potential to estrange significant sections of society, presenting barriers to social cohesion and stability.
Although the failure to address this problem can be partially attributed to government and political institutions, the public’s attitudes and beliefs also likely serve as an impediment.