The ‘ultimate toponym’ and national imaginaries in Georgia and Azerbaijan: Constraining Imaginaries of Borchali among Georgian Azeri-Turks


  • Karli-Jo T. Storm University of Eastern Finland



national imaginary, political toponyms, contested territories, Borchali, South Caucasus


A central component of any national imaginary is the extent to which it is or can be made marketable and consumable by audiences within and outside of the borders of the territorial state. Physical and symbolic delimitation of the “homeland” – in 2- and 3-D, on the ground and on maps, in speech and in individual thought processes - facilitates a certain degree of intra-group solidarity and out-group wariness. After expanding upon the theoretical utility of the concept of the national imaginary, the author examines the role played by the “ultimate toponym”, that of the bounded and institutionalized nation-state, in reifying dominant national imaginaries in Georgia and Azerbaijan. A further aim of this article is to demonstrate the ways that popular and elite-centric conceptions of Azerbaijani and/or Georgian nation-hood stymie Georgian Azeri-Turks’ abilities to imagine alternate forms of identification and belonging, using the phantom territory of “Borchali” as a key example.


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How to Cite

Storm, K.-J. T. (2020). The ‘ultimate toponym’ and national imaginaries in Georgia and Azerbaijan: Constraining Imaginaries of Borchali among Georgian Azeri-Turks. Journal of Geography, Politics and Society, 10(3), 16–28.