Non-Profit Publishing House Saga was founded in 2006. As indicated by its name, its activities were not commercial. Over time, its publications were distributed in bookstores as well as in public institutions. In 2013 the name was changed to Sa.Ga. Publishing for Society, to emphasize that the publishing house is a non-commercial enterprise.
The name of publishing house, Sa.Ga., derives from the name of a children’s newspaper, Sabavshvo Gazeti, created and published by Sa.Ga. founder Soso Dumbadze and his childhood friends in the beginning of the 1990s. Some of these publishers have since passed away; others have become drug-users or small time criminals. As adults today, they represent that generation of Tbilisi society.
Sa.Ga. Publishing for Society began operations in a period when the Georgian media landscape was experiencing intensive industrialization and standardization against the background of social changes. One of the first books published by Sa.Ga. was The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935-1936) by the philosopher Walter Benjamin. It was the first time the book had been translated from German into Georgian. The author reflects on the disappearance of artwork’s aura as the result of its reproduction by technical means. Technical media is the main subject of Benjamin’s critique; however, he does not link the tendency of the loss of individual singularity in art and in human life to capitalism, which he refers to as »social relations of the capital«.
In 2010 Sa.Ga. began working on the translation of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment. Philosophical Fragments (1944-1947, 1969) by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, the most significant representatives of Critical Theory and the founders of the Frankfurt School. Their book is a cornerstone for the Marxist worldview and criticism of bourgeois society.
Sa.Ga. believes that the translation and publishing of a selection of theoretic and reflective literature is vitally important, especially in a country such as post-Soviet Georgia where independent, critical theory-based thought is still rare and where very often the concepts of Marx himself and other critical theorists are cast aside along with the ideological doctrine of Marxism-Leninism.
Sa.Ga. is motivated to fill the gap that currently exists in Georgia’s cinema and media studies. Sa.Ga. endeavors to translate and publish topical works, including important works that are less known to Georgian readers.
Sa.Ga.'s main focus is on publishing classical and contemporary media texts. Sa.Ga. pays special attention to reflections on modern society in specialized literature.
Its priority areas are: Media, Culture and Society.
Sa.Ga. has organized several seminars and workshops with both Georgian and Western contributors. The majority of its publications are distributed free of charge to individuals and organizations within the framework of these seminars and workshops.
Sa.Ga.’s main objective is to address the importance of discussing the existing social political problems in Georgian society. By questioning the authoritarian tendencies in Georgia, Sa.Ga. opens a dialog and a platform for autonomous discussion.
Sa.Ga. Publishing is not profit-oriented. Its projects are implemented with the financial support of donor organizations and various funds. The publishing house cooperates with international and local organizations. It strives to make its publications affordable so they are accessible for students.
In 2019, Sa.Ga. became the first Georgian publisher to distribute books published in Georgia in Western Europe (Germany and Austria), at the »Buchhandlung Walther König« bookstore chain and in Moscow, at the »Falanster« and »Garage« (Garage Museum Of Contemporary Art) bookstores. Sa.Ga. became the first Georgian publishing house in recent history to enter the Western European and Russian book market.
Today as many as 30 organizations have financially contributed to various Sa.Ga. projects.
Past partners and sponsors of the projects implemented by Sa.Ga. include:
– Central bureau of the Goethe-Institut (Munich)
– Centre of Contemporary Art (Tbilisi)
– Centre of Cultural Events of the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office
– Eisenstein Centre for Research of Cinema Culture (Moscow)
– Elysée – Joint cultural program of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of France and Germany
– Federal Organization of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Germany (Der Bundesverband Psychiatrie-Erfahrener)
– Foundation of Arts and Science in Hamburg
– Friedrich-Ebert Foundation
– Georgian bureau of the Goethe-Institut
– Georgian National Film Center
– Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Cinema, Music and Choreography
– Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna
– Institut Français de Géorgie
– Institute for Media Studies of Ruhr-University Bochum
– Institute for Social and Cultural Studies of Ilia State University
– Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia
– Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy
– National Archives of Georgia
–Open Society Georgian Foundation
– Publishing House Suhrkamp (Germany)
– State Central Cinema Museum (Moscow)
– Students Union at Institute for Media Studies of Ruhr-University Bochum
– Studio Legale (Rome)
– The Archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia,
– The Department of Georgian and Foreign History of Philosophy at Savle Tsereteli Institute of Philosophy
– The Department of Information and the Archive of Lenfilm (Saint Petersburg)
– The Gosfilmofond (The National Film Foundation of Russian Federation), Moscow
– The Israel Museum (Jerusalem)
– The National Library of Russia (Moscow)
– The Pier Paolo Pasolini family
– VG BILD-KUNST (Bonn)