A reconstruction, using anthropological methods, of the second economy of Georgia

PhD thesis

Altman, Y. 1983. A reconstruction, using anthropological methods, of the second economy of Georgia. PhD thesis Middlesex Polytechnic Centre of Occupational and Community research
TypePhD thesis
TitleA reconstruction, using anthropological methods, of the second economy of Georgia
AuthorsAltman, Y.

This study aims to explore the second economy of Soviet Georgia by reconstructing aspects of its social organisation and the workings of selected examples of second economy activity. Since its principal research mode is participant observation, this involved living for over a year within a community of recent migrants from Soviet Georgia to Israel. This experience offered opportunities:
a) to gain access to everyday behaviour in order to establish that culture's basic values, and
b) to build up detailed and cross-checkable case studies. In so doing, it aimed to exploit the resources of a living community by treating it as a data-base.
Its further aim, however, is not merely to obtain details of cases and to understand these by placing them in their cultural setting. These cases, when considered against the background of a people's mores and values, provide the building blocks which allow us to understand the wider formation of which they are a part.
The study then aims to engage in the secondary analysis of these cases in order to construct a model of Soviet Georgia's system of second economy production and distribution. While traditional explanations focus on Georgia's natural resources as the major reason for its flourishing Second Economy, this study
looks at primary cultural patterns and daily behaviour conduct which underlie the social expressions of a people. It then identifies the Social Support Network as a focus of personalised relationships in Soviet Georgia. The Social Support Network is also the power base of Second Economy activity. The way the network operates and the shape it takes determines the scope of its operations and the ability of members to function as agents in that economy.
After setting up the core values of Soviet Georgia's society and their manifestations in the Second Economy, two detailed case studies examine the structure and operation of the production and distribution of goods. These are supplemented by six accounts of crisis events which allow us a close look into the way the informal system copes with emergencies.
All of this enables a reassessment of Soviet Georgia's Second Economy, the sources of its rapid expansion and unrivalled success in the Soviet system as well as possible future developments.

Department nameCentre of Occupational and Community research
Institution nameMiddlesex Polytechnic
Publication dates
Print13 Oct 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Oct 2010
AcceptedJun 1983
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Additional information

This thesis is submitted to the Council for National Academic Awards in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

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