Thursday, October 27, 2016

Perceptions of closeness: Opinions about which regions’ traditions and modern culture are closest to Armenian’s and Georgian’s

CRRC’s 2015 Caucasus Barometer (CB) survey asked the populations of Georgia and Armenia to identify the regions in the world whose traditions and modern culture are, in their opinion, closest to Armenia’s and Georgia’s. While most people in both countries feel closest to neighboring countries, many found it difficult to answer the questions. While there are many commonalities in responses to these questions in Armenia and Georgia, there are also minor differences.

Two questions were asked in CB. One focused on traditions and the other on modern culture. In both cases, the same show card was offered to the respondents. When it comes to traditions, the populations of both countries named most often “neighboring countries in the South Caucasus”, but this answer was more common in Armenia (36%) than in Georgia (27%). Interestingly, in both countries people found it similarly difficult to answer this question. Roughly one third of Armenians (30%) and Georgians (36%) could not or refused to answer the question.

Besides similarities, there are also differences. The “European part of Russia” was the second most common answer in Georgia (15%), and the third most common in Armenia (8%). In Armenia, “Neighboring countries in Asia” was the second most common answer, although the difference in frequencies of naming these regions in Armenia is within the margin of error. It is clear though that the population of Georgia generally does not consider the traditions of “Neighboring countries in Asia” to be close to Georgian traditions.  

The responses did not change much when people were asked which region’s modern culture they considered closest to their own. Slightly more Armenians (30%) named neighboring countries in the South Caucasus than did Georgians (23%), and the “European part of Russia” was, again, the second most common response in Georgia (13%) and third in Armenia (8%), with even higher shares of those answering “Don’t know”. Importantly, comparison of the answers to these two questions suggests that the populations of these countries do not see important differences between the traditions, on the one hand, and modern cultures, on the other hand, of the regions worldwide. 

Interestingly, in both countries, responses are quite similar in different settlement types (Georgia, Armenia), age groups (Georgia, Armenia), and by gender (Georgia, Armenia).

Despite minor differences, the populations of Armenia and Georgia have similar views about their cultures’ propinquity to other cultures in the world. Yet, in both countries a large share of the population find it difficult to answer the respective questions.

The datasets used in this blog post and related documentation are available at CRRC’s online data analysis platform. 


Lasha Chkhitunidze said...

I don't have additional information about that survey and haven't acquired the consequences on other similar questions to exemine the whole issue, but from this data I can conclude that the only reason why for the both questions Georgians answer that they consider closest to their own european part of Russia depends on common religion. Russians are the only Orthodox Christian neighboirs for russians. Religion itself reflects on lifestyle of people and forms common traditions.
According to general observation it's easy to see that there is a radical difference between modern culture of georgians and russians, but to my mind they don't have connection and enough information about other cultures what makes them think still russians are the closest people for them.

CRRC said...

Hi Lasha,

I guess its important to remember that we aren't discussing the actual similarities of cultures, just people's perceptions. So, we can't conclude that religion determined the responses. Looking at this issue would require additional and quite extensive research.

Kind Regards,