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The Cultural Strategies of War and Reconciliation: Analysis on the Example of the Civil War in the Republic of Tajikistan (1992-1997)

The project is financed by the National Science Centre (Sonata 5)

Project Coordinator: Dr Paulina Niechciał

Main Executive: Dr Elżbieta Olzacka

Project duration: March 2014 – May 2016

The research objective of the project is the analysis of civil war as a cultural phenomenon. We will examine the cultural strategies employed by conflicting parties to either defeat the enemy or bring peace to a conflict. The case studied in the project is a civil war in the Republic of Tajikistan (1992-1997). During two field-trips, the following research materials will be collected: in-depth ethnographic interviews with Tajik activists involved in creating the various political fractions during the Tajik civil war, and selected newspapers representing the interests of the various civil war parties. Our analysis will focus on the cultural content, as well as the language used by conflicting parties in the Tajik press to communicate it. We assume that the phenomenon of civil war is accompanied by changes in the cultural strategies. Referring to the civil war in Tajikistan we put forward the hypothesis that the strategies of the conflicting parties have changed over the course of the various stages of the conflict - not only during the period of armed struggle, but during the whole decade, from the very first anti-government demonstrations in the 1990s, to the parliamentary elections in 2000, which ended the process of implementing the General Agreement after the civil war. The project will contribute to the development of the scientific knowledge about how war is waged in the field of culture, as well as the empirically grounded understanding of the role of culture in the political transformation caused by the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The research is interdisciplinary, combining perspectives, knowledge and methodological tools specific to cultural studies, ethnology, sociology and Oriental studies.

One of the outcomes of the project is the Tajik press archive.