Living with “borderization”: Accommodating, negotiating and contesting occupation in Georgian borderland villages
Welcome to next RUCARR seminar on March 21 with Dr Katrine Godfredsen, senior lecturer in Caucasus Studies at Malmö Unversity.
When: March 21, 15.15-17.00
Where: Sign-up here for zoom link (new link)
Zoom Meeting https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/67632369897 Meeting ID: 676 3236 9897
In this presentation I will outline some preliminary findings from recent ethnographic fieldwork in Georgia conducted as part of the research project “Occupied Intimacies: Borderization in Palestine, Georgia and Western Sahara”. The project as a whole is about contemporary military occupations and their effects on the everyday lives of people under their rule. It compares three cases of on-going and disputed military occupations: the Russian occupation of the Georgian territory of South Ossetia, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara.
The Georgian case study explores local effects of Russian border-making practices, or “borderization”, between the occupied territory of South Ossetia and Tbilisi controlled territory. Through the installation of physical barriers and symbolic gestures, such as signposts, fences and patrolling border guards, a previously invisible and elastic administrative boundary line (ABL) is gradually being turned into a de-facto international border. Moreover, these activities are accompanied by instances of what is locally described as “creeping occupation” – the step-by-step moving of fences and barbed wire further into Georgian controlled land and seizing of more Georgian territory.
Borderization has grave effects on the lives and livelihoods of borderland village communities. Some families have already experienced being cut off, or displaced, from their native farmlands, gardens and orchards, and others live with the fear and risk that this might happen at any time. This ongoing uncertainty presents local families with a number of economic and social problems and dilemmas, but it also fosters innovative strategies of accommodation, negotiation and contestation. In this presentation, I will examine how, and to which effect, borderization as a tool of dominance and subordination affects and reconfigures local village communities and livelihoods.