FORUM FOR ANTHROPOLOGY AND CULTURE

ANTROPOLOGICHESKIJ FORUM
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Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 2017, no. 13

 

BLACK MATSONI: THE PRAGMATICS OF THE TBILISI STREET CODE

Evgenia Zakharova
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy
of Sciences
3 Universitetskaya Emb., St Petersburg, Russia
evgenics()gmail.com

Abstract: Using material gathered during fieldwork carried out by the author in Tbilisi from 2007 to 2012, the article examines the urban street code as an example of Soviet and post-Soviet principles (‘ponyatiya’) in a non-Russian-speaking society. The street code, as a component of a street culture that has penetrated all strata of society, is derived by those who adhere to it from universal Soviet criminal principles, and is at the same time associated with national ideas of manliness. Evaluations are placed within a framework of a discussion of codes of behaviour, whereby the article combines ethnographic and ethnomethodological approaches to their study. Using the examples of mediation and settling of accounts on the streets, the author shows that the code determines the key parameters and specific procedures of public interaction, and also the rhetorical forms of disputes within the bounds of communicative commonality, thereby forming a social reality.

Keywords: code of behaviour, rules, street culture, thieves in law, masculinity, culture of dispute, means of argumentation.

To cite: Zakharova E., ‘Black Matsoni: The Pragmatics of the Tbilisi Street Code’, Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 2017, no. 13, pp. 247–279.