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.
Co-governance and social innovation for sustainability
The new project, funded by the Swedish Institue (SI), aims to strengthen the understanding and capacity of co-governance and social innovation in the public sector by raising the level of knowledge, provide tools and methods and work together across societal sectors and levels of government. The project will provide new knowledge and policy dialogues as a ground for participating organizations, at national and local level, to develop new projects, develop strategic plans and transfer knowledge and skills to other relevant organizations in their country.
Project members are Dr. Tom Nilsson (photo left; project leader and RUCARR researcher at Global Political Studies, Malmö University), Dr. Fredrik Björk (Urban Studies, Malmö University), Lena Andersson (external expert) and a number of other national and international experts, in collaboration with local partners:
- GEORGIA: Europe-Georgia Institute (EGI)
- MOLDOVA: The Child Rights Information Centre Moldova (CRIC)
- KOSOVO: Education Innovators Kosovo (EIK)
- NORTH MACEDONIA: IMPETUS – Center for Internet, Development and Good Governance (CIDGG)
About the project
The program consists of two dialectic tracks. The first track is a thematic series of bi-weekly seminars, such as social innovation, public procurement, transparency and impact and developmental evaluation. Each theme is structured in a similar way – the first seminar is focused on understanding the area of knowledge, presenting central concepts, research and providing some relevant and illustrative examples. The second seminar is for the participants to contextualise the topic to their own country and identify legal and cultural boundaries, and then compare their country´s status, preconditions and best practices to the other participating countries. The third seminar aims to use the acquired knowledge to discuss ways to develop strategies, projects, and policy revisions.
The second track is to develop a contextual tool-kit for social audits, train local communities in the methodology and in the second half of the program implement social audits. Besides empowering local communities and enhancing local transparency and accountability, the second track will be a pilot example throughout the seminar series. In discussing each theme, the social audits will serve as a case of social innovation and co-governance, and put light on existing limitations and hinders.
RUCARR researchers Bo Petersson and Derek Hutcheson are embarking on a new research project Legitimacy, urban planning and sustainability in Russia and Sweden (LUPSRUSS) with funding from the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD).
The project seeks to examine the processes of urban planning in Sweden and Russia, with a focus on the input, control and output legitimacy of that process. The concept of input legitimacy will be examined through an examination of the actors in the processes of urban planning. Control/throughput legitimacy will be examined through examination of the processes of urban planning. Output legitimacy will focus on the policy outputs of the process.
Through paired comparison of different examples of urban planning, this project will give insight into the quality of governance at the local level. Moreover, the focus will be on the politics and processes behind sustainable planning and development in a number of comparable regions in each country. Finally, the project will also be capacity-building, building on existing networks and fostering new ones between scholars and local government units in Sweden and Russia
Read more about the project and partners at the project website: http://wpmu.mah.se/rucarr/research/lupsruss/ and the ICLD’s research page: http://icld.se/en/article/legitimacy-urban-planning-and-sustainability-in-russia-and-sweden