Trauma or Nostalgia? ‘The Past’ as Affective Ontological Security Seeking Playground in the South Caucasus


Abstract


Crises could be understood as dislocations of hegemonic identity narratives. One strategy of seeking ontological security, as re-ordering process to calm and sooth these displacements, is ‘defending memory’. But how does ‘defending memory’ play out? This article argues that to understand those mnemonic processes, one also has to look at the affective investments into these identity narratives informing processes of politicisation and securitisation. The article proposes to look at those processes through the lens of affective geopolitics to shed light onto those in the South Caucasus. In so doing, it explores the affective reproduction of memory and shows how investing, subscribing, questioning or rejecting identity-positionalities is a patch-work process of discursive emotion norm contestations. What emerges is a mosaic of emotion cultures drifting apart (between the South Caucasus countries) and away (internationally) linked to how ‘the past’ is re-felt either in agony or in gloriousness within presidential discourses.


Keywords: emotions; ontological security; identity; affective geopolitics; South Caucasus

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