Veysel Erdemli

The quest for identity and belonging: An ethnographic account of Georgian associations in Turkey

Supervisors:Deema Kaneff and Tim Haughton 

Veysel Erdemli is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Birmingham. His thesis seeks to understand the role of Turkish Georgian associations in the formation of identity amongst citizens of Georgian descent in Turkey. The thesis focuses on the role of the state, and citizens’ concern of being misunderstood (in the context of possible state repressions), as well as on how ‘ancestral culture’ and religion influence the ethnic group’s associational activities and their multiple identities. The thesis uses an inductive, ethnographic approach, using participant observation and in-depth interviews as the main method of data collection.


Veysel Erdemli holds a Master’s Degree in education from Marmara University and a postgraduate diploma from SOAS, University of London, in the media and cultural studies. He conducted empirical research on issues related to migration, diaspora, identity formation, development and ethnic associations in Turkey, Georgia and the UK.


  • BA in Language and Literature
  • MA in Education (Distinction)
  • FDPS in Media and Cultural Studies

Research interests

Caucasus, Political Anthropology, Immigrant Associations, Diaspora, Identity, Ethnicity, Transnationalism, Translocality 

Other activities

Veysel Erdemli is a skilled project leader and has been involved in local and international projects where he has played key roles. He was also involved in Erasmus+ training programmes on conflict transformation and developing responsibility in Belgium and the UK. He is a member of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA) and BASEES Caucasus Study Group.  


Erdemli, V., (2012). Identifying the Georgians Living in Turkey as a Diasporic Community. Journal of Eurasian Studies1(2), pp.343-361.

Conference Papers:

“The state as a power and its influence in shaping ethnic groups’ collective actions”, BASEES Caucasus Study Group Workshop, SOAS, University of London, 14 December 2017, London, UK.

““The worry of being misunderstood”: Caucasian Diaspora, identity construction and the shadow of the Kurdish issue”, 2nd International Kurdish Migration Conference, Middlesex University, 15-16 June 2017, London, UK.

“Ethnic Associations and Trans-nationalisation of Religion”, Symposium on Unpacking Superdiversity: New Directions in Diversity Research, Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of Birmingham, 25 May 2017, Birmingham, UK.

“The State is a Power, This is Clear”: The Emergence and Development of the Georgian Associations, CASCA/IUAES2017, 2-7 May 2017, Ottawa, Canada.

“The Role of the Diaspora in the National Development of Some Caucasian Peoples: The Case of Georgians in Turkey”, Politics around Caucasus: International Symposium on Kartvelian Studies, 21 October 2016, Tbilisi/Georgia.

““Me” in the Field: Do the Identities Attributed to “Me” Matter During the Fieldwork?”, Understanding, Embracing and Reflecting Upon the Messiness of the Fieldwork, UCL Institute of Education, 6 June 2016, London/UK.

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