The role of traditional rituals in resisting energy injustice: The case of hydropower developments in Svaneti, Georgia
- Kety Gujaraidze
- Nino Antadze
Source: Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 79, 2021, 102152,
ISSN 2214-6296, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.102152.
The study intervenes in the energy justice literature by bringing to the foreground the local, emplaced, and bottom-up perspective. The authors specifically explore the potential of place-based agency, expressed in the form of traditional rituals, to expand the repertoire of extra-institutional means of resistance against various manifestations of energy injustice.
They investigate the recent developments in the hydropower sector in the Svaneti region of the Republic of Georgia. Based on a qualitative research design involving personal interviews and document analysis, the authors explain how and why the traditional ritual of taking the oath of unity on the icon of St. George has been used to oppose hydropower developments, and how the employment of this extra-institutional action is linked to the changed political opportunity structure.
In addition to underscoring the need to recognize and respect the cultural and religious importance assigned to traditional rituals by local communities, the findings of the study imply a need to consider traditional rituals not merely as symbolic or/and performative means of resistance, but also as political tools that may have a significant impact on the development of energy projects.