"Post"-conflict displacement: Isolation and integration in Georgia

Beth A Mitchneck, Olga V. Mayorova, Joanna Regulska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Abkhaz civil wars and continuing territorial conflicts in Georgia have resulted in the long-term displacement of more than 200,000 people since the early 1990s. Although the international and local discourse is about integrating internally displaced persons (IDPs), little research has documented the meaning of isolation or integration for the daily lives of the IDPs or the local population. We engage the discourse about integration and isolation by analyzing the composition, size, and density of social networks in the "post"-conflict environment and the socio-spatial characteristics of social interactions and social networks. We combine a formal social network analysis with a daily path analysis to explore how socio-spatial patterns are formative of social networks and explore how various demographic factors, including gender, dwelling status, and employment status, may be related to the nature of social interactions and social networks. Our results are initially puzzling and suggest the need to rethink the meaning of isolation and integration within postconflict situations. We had expected to find greater diversity of social interactions in both populations, especially IDPs in private accommodations, because they are generally thought to have more diverse social interactions. The social network and daily path analyses, however, suggest evidence of social isolation within social networks among the entire population, not only among IDPs. We find a high degree of social isolation in two ways: (1) the persistent dominance of family and kin in all social networks and (2) highly dense (or closed) social networks in the entire population across gender, dwelling, and migrant status. The only demographic factor that appears to distinguish patterns is whether an individual engages in income-generating activity. Finally, using narrative interviews, we also explore the meaning of integration and isolation during displacement in the Georgian context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1022-1032
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Volume99
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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Keywords

  • Abkhazia
  • Displacement
  • Georgia
  • Integration
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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