Zakharova E. J. Who are Your Dzmak’atsebi? Formalized Friendship on the Streets of Tbilisi

Evgenia Y. Zakharova
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russia


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ABSTRACT. The article looks into dzmak’atsoba relations, which demonstrate similarity to both friendship and kinship and have been an integral part of the Georgian urban street culture for the late Soviet and early post-Soviet periods. Following the approach formulated by Evan Killick and Amit Desai, who stress the close interweaving, and at times inseparability of the concepts of friendship and kinship, this paper does not aim to rigidly classify dzmak’atsoba into this or that category. Instead, its objective is to show by what means and ideologies these relations are shaped as a separate and distinct phenomenon that contrasts with the other forms of relations. Drawing on qualitative data and research method, I show that dzmak’atsoba is an institutionalized and formalized form of friendship, where the relationship between friends is subject to certain explicit rules. I argue that dzmak’atsoba is largely based on reputation exchanges and modeling of kinship, which determine the main features of this form of relationship.


KEYWORDS: formalized friendship, kinship, reputation, neighborhood, street, taboo, incest, sworn brotherhood, fraternities


УДК 392.71(479.22)
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2020-4(10)-178-188



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