How far is Europe from the Caucasus? National Images of Europe in the Minds of Georgian Students
Keywords:attitudes, national images, social distance, ethnic and religious groups.
Utilizing a mixed methods approach, survey and focus groups, the study shows that psychological distance of Georgian students to Europe is much smaller than the geographic one. 100 students from two Tbilisi universities filled out a questionnaire while 40 students provided qualitative data through four focus groups. We measured social distances towards ethnic and religious groups, some related to Europe and the United States, and others to minorities of Georgia or the country’s neighbors. The quantitative measure of social distances revealed that Georgian students feel closer to Europeans and Christian culture representatives than to their neighbors or minorities and non-Christian cultures. Qualitative data provided explanations for such distances: national images of Europeans and of minorities or neighboring countries’ representatives differ from each other; Georgian students favor European values and lifestyle more than those of their neighbors, and experience closer ties to Christian cultures.
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