Mistrust pp 49-71 | Cite as

Radical Forms of Mistrust

  • Florian Mühlfried


This chapter deals with radical forms of mistrust, expressed in efforts towards maximal detachment from the social environment. Such efforts become particularly evident in times of fundamental social change. In the Caucasus, a set of upheavals has created a genealogy of embodiments of mistrust. The Russian colonisation of the Caucasus created the Abreks, social bandits who lived off the spoils of raids on the colonisers. Afterwards, the Soviet gulag system gave birth to a criminal figure called ‘thief in law’, who preached the rejection of all forms of co-operation with the state and the society. The most recent representative of this genealogy is the jihadist, who considers people outside of his religious community as victims. All these embodiments of mistrust are accompanied by a proclaimed contempt of death. By accepting death in the course of one’s life, the power of the distrusted environment is meant to be brought to a standstill.


Abrek Thief in law Jihadism Death 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Mühlfried
    • 1
  1. 1.Social Anthropology ProgrammeIlia State UniversityTbilisiGeorgia

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