Current dissertations

Land use strategies in the Armenian border village Pshatavan Show content

Tamar Khutsishvili: Land use strategies in the Armenian border village Pshatavan

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Diana Forker

The study is devoted to land use strategies in the village of Pshatavan, which is located on the Armenian side of the border area between Armenia and Turkey. Therefore, half of the arable land plots are located on no man’s land. The dissertation of based on one year of field work (2014–2015) in Pshatavan.

The dissertation studies the strategies of villagers for using and keeping agricultural land plots after the privatization of the lands formerly owned by Sovkhoz and Kolkhoz (collective farms). The research asks how the land is used and explores the coping strategies adopted by households for converting land plots into valuable, status giving assets. Discussions on strategies are led by the concept of informality and forms of capital. Within the framework of Economic Anthropology, the dissertation explores household strategies as the reflection of top-down and bottom-up changes. Pshatavan borders Turkey. Therefore, the effect of the border on shaping villagers’ identities and influencing land use practices is also a major part of the research.

Reported speech in the languages of the Caucasus Show content

Felix Anker: Reported speech in the languages of the Caucasus

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Diana Forker

This dissertation studies reported speech and related constructions including constructions that grammaticalized from reported speech (reported thought, evidentiality, purpose, etc.) in the languages of the Caucasus. The study will be based on two to three case studies from different language families located in the Caucasus. It will also contain a comparative analysis of reported speech from a functional-typological perspective.

Agreement in Tabasaran Show content

Natasha Bogomolova: Agreement in Tabasaran

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Diana Forker

This dissertation project examines verbal agreement in the East Caucasian language Tabasaran. Tabasaran belongs to the Lezgic subbranch of the family and is spoken by around 100,000 people in Daghestan (Russian Federation) and northern Azerbaijan. The language is morphologically ergative, predominantly left-branching and has SOV as basic constituent order. One prominent feature of East Caucasian languages including Tabasaran is gender marking. Tabasaran has a rather reduced gender system that distinguishes only between non-human singular (neutral) vs. other (non-neutral). In contrast to the majority of East Caucasian languages Tabasaran has person marking on the verb controlled by the subject. Non-subject arguments can also be marked, but this is optional and depends on discourse-pragmatic factors.

In addition to providing a detailed analysis of gender and person agreement in Tabasaran from a typological perspective, the dissertation will also contain a sketch grammar.

Everyday Life in Old Tbilisi. Exploration of Cohabitation in a Multiethnic Neighborhood in Tbilisi Show content

Joseph Sparsbrod: Everyday Life in Old Tbilisi. Exploration of Cohabitation in a Multiethnic Neighborhood in Tbilisi

In the past decades the Georgian capital faced radical changes. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the following unrest, the establishment of a market economy and the Rose Revolution might be the most profound events in the life of Tbilisi's inhabitants. The historic center, in its actual state, was socially produced according to the respective socioeconomic, political and cultural conditions. The area was labeled as “Old Tbilisi” – a catchphrase connected to a multitude of meanings and imaginations, e.g. beautiful, historic, but often neglect houses and close relations between the mostly poor neighbors. In my ongoing dissertation project I want to show how this space (on the example of one street) is socially produced  by different  groups  according  to  their  socioeconomic, political and cultural resources. I pay special attention to the local community, as one important actor in this process.

On which social structures (e.g. kinship or neighborship) and practices (e.g. housing, appropriation and use of space, informal activities) can they rely on to deal with everyday challenges since the end of the Soviet Union? How are this structures and practices used, reshaped, changed and reinterpreted by the neighbors and what stake do they have in the social production of space? I will show how the neighborhood and the life of the neighbors is affected by the local, national and global socioeconomic, political and cultural environment. I will display the local's capacity to achieve their wishes and expectations and to cope with political, economic and social pressure. This throws light on how the neighborhood (as a material and social reality) is shaped (i.e. socially produced) by different groups and it will reveal the power relations which underlie this process. This is of interest since the genesis and state of “Old Tbilisi” is obscured or naturalized by different ideologies (e.g. State communism, nationalism, neo-liberalism) and their respective political, economic and cultural elites.

Female labor migrants from Georgia in Greece Show content

Weronika Zmiejewski: Female labor migrants from Georgia in Greece

She conducts research on female labor migrants from Georgia in Greece. She did her fieldwork mainly in northern Greece (Thessaloniki) and partly in Georgia. From a social anthropological perspective, she looks at the migration structure, the socioeconomic reasons of migration and the trajectories of Georgian women in Greece. Another main point of reference in her research is the EU migration policy in Greece, especially with respect to regulation policies and visa facilitation.

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