Commemorating Exclusion: Violent Imaginaries and the Maintenance of a War Mood in Azerbaijan
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Twenty-three years since the signing of the ceasefire that ended six years of violent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the parties have moved no closer to forming a lasting peace agreement. Indeed, the ensuing lack of contact between the two sides has allowed their respective positions to become even more entrenched and uncompromising. This thesis seeks to analyse the means by which this international conflict manifests itself at the everyday level in the Azeri capital of Baku, some 400km from the Line of Contact, in the context of these cemented, and decidedly opposing, discursive stances. It will utilise the concepts of violent imaginaries in order to examine how the historicity and memory of the war continues to permeate everyday life, such that it seems a natural, common-sensical aspect of Azeri life, even for those with no direct experience of the fighting. Rather than focusing solely on top-down, elite-driven discourses, or on the specific experiences of individuals, the thesis will attempt to analyse the relational processes between the two involved in the production and reinforcement of violent imaginaries in Baku, and the possible impact this has on prospects for peace.