Folklore and Terror in Georgia’s ‘Notorious’ Pankisi Gorge

Paul Manning


One of the more curious side effects of the ‘branding’ of localities in the War on Terror was the production of certain kinds of fantastic places, such that certain otherwise unremarkable places came to be diagnosed as ‘Terror bases’. This paper explores a dual apperception of this place within two ‘folkloric’ discourses. Within the discourse of Georgian folklore, Pankisi is at best peripheral, within the discourse of the Folklore of Terror, Pankisi briefly became central. Finally I show how the peripherality of Pankisi to ‘the nation’, and centrality to ‘terror’, became a resource for the Georgian State’s legitimation of its own monopoly on violence.

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