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Security, Democracy and Development

In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region

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Edited By Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes

Since the early 1990s, the southern Caucasus and its larger neighbourhood, the Black Sea region, have experienced deep and sometimes painful transformations, including bloody conflicts. They have also become an arena of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between great powers. This has attracted growing attention from social scientists. In this volume, authors from universities in Europe, the United States and the southern Caucasus focus on several of the most topical problems of the region, particularly how nascent states and societies grapple with the results of unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts and how they try to construct new civil societies from the cultural mosaic that they inherited from their Soviet past. How do elements of democracy and autocracy combine in the political regimes of the new states? Can the West have an effect on their internal development and, if so, how? How do the rich mineral resources of the Caspian region influence the development of the region’s economies and define the geopolitical standing of these countries?
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Return or Integration? Politicizing Displacement in Georgia

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ABSTRACT: Displacement in Georgia is highly politicized. By invoking inflated numbers of IDPs, failing to integrate them, or trying to discourage spontaneous return, the Georgian government’s actions at times point to their use of IDPs as a political weapon. We examine the discourses and policies surrounding IDPs, including laws designed to deal with them, institutions that manage them, and political statements about IDPs, as forms of governmentality and geopower. We critically assess Georgian IDP policies and discourses, documenting the shift from solely prioritizing return to, after 2007, allowing room, alongside the rhetoric of return, for a specific understanding of integration. Our analysis highlights how, for the Georgian government, the meaning of integration is constructed in a narrow fashion, primarily understood as the provision of housing.

KEYWORDS: internally displaced persons (IDPs), Georgia, Abkhazia, displacement, governmentality, geopower, integration, return

Displacement, and the networks, policies, and institutions that seek to govern and manage the displaced, are always politicized (Zetter, 1991; Holtzman and Nezam, 2004; Haider, 2010).1 In Georgia, the resolution of displacement and the right of the displaced to return is highly politicized (Mundt and Ferris, 2008; Mooney, 2011). Internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been a major concern for the Georgian government and, since 1992, hundreds of legislative acts have been adopted to manage IDPs ← 183 | 184 → (Tarkhan-Mouravi, 2009; UNHCR, 2009).2 Despite this attention, a comprehensive IDP policy was not seriously contemplated by the Georgian government until 2006, through the State Strategy document, 15 years...

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