Advertisement

Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 47–67 | Cite as

Georgia’s frosts: ethnopolitical conflict as assemblage

  • Ondrej DitrychEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

This article is a reinterpretation of ‘frozen conflicts’ as assemblages binding together and strategically orienting a variety of components from both human and nonhuman estates at various scales in order to make a move toward ‘unfreezing’ their research. It then demonstrates how this perspective may be employed in the case of the ethnopolitical conflict in Georgia. The resulting analysis points to several important processes that animate the constant pulsation of the conflict field even when arms are calm and contribute to the dynamic and becoming nature of the conflict and its dynamic (re-)assembling. It illuminates how the visibility function of the assemblage operates and endows with meaning the structure of relations in the conflict field. It traces how the bricolage of Georgian social association transformed over time, notably under Saakashvili, and how it has also been a key element of statebuilding practice in the separatist entities. The analysis moreover demonstrates how the actual instantiations of collective violence form but a fraction of that which takes place in the conflict field, from other forms of political and criminal violence to regime change, state (un-)making through processes of contraction or extension of heterogenous, ‘hybrid’ governscapes including some distinctly virtual ones but betraying real political effects. Finally, it expounds how the ethnopolitical conflict assemblage affixes together a variety of agency from human agents to institutions from local to state governments or the international conflict resolution apparatus in addition to the material (nonhuman) actants enrolled in the translation networks populating the conflict field.

Notes

Funding information

I acknowledge funding by the Charles University Research Program PROGRESS Q18 Social Sciences: From Multidisciplinarity to Interdisciplinarity.

References

  1. Abrahamsen R, Williams MC (2011) Security privatization and global security assemblages. The Brown Journal of International Affairs 18(1):153–162Google Scholar
  2. Abrahamsen R, Williams M (2014) Tracing global assemblages, bringing Bourdieu to the field. In: Acuto M, Curtis S (eds) Reassembling international theory. Palgrave, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. Acuto M, Curtis S (2014) Reassembling international theory. Palgrave, LondonGoogle Scholar
  4. Albrecht P, Moe LW (2015) The simultaneity of authority in hybrid orders. Peacebuilding 3(1):1–16Google Scholar
  5. Ambrosio T, Lange W (2015) The architecture of annexation? Russia’s bilateral agreements with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity 44(5):673–693Google Scholar
  6. Aradau C, van Munster R (2008) Taming the future: the Dispositif of risk in the war on terror. In: Amoore L, de Goede M (eds) Risk and the war on terror. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  7. Aradau C, van Munster R (2011) Politics of catastrophe: genealogies of the unknown. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. Asmus R (2010) A little war that shook the world: Georgia, Russia, and the future of the west. St. Martin’s Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Bakke K et al (2017) Dynamics of state-building after war: external-international relations in Eurasian De Facto States. Political Geography (online first)Google Scholar
  10. Berdal M, Keen D (1997) Violence and economic agendas in civil wars: some policy implications. Millenium 26(3):795–818Google Scholar
  11. Berdal M, Malone D (2000) Greed and grievance: economic agendas in civil wars. Lynne Rienner, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  12. Bourne M (2017) Powers of the gun: process and possibility in global small arms control. International Politics (online first)Google Scholar
  13. Brandenburg N (2017) EU mediation as an assemblage of practices. J Common Mark Stud 55(5):993–1008Google Scholar
  14. Brenner N (1999) State-centrism? Space, territoriality, and geographical scale in globalization studies. Theory Soc 28(1):39–78Google Scholar
  15. Bueger C (2014) Thinking assemblages methodologically: some rules of thumb. In: Acuto M, Curtis S (eds) Reassembling international theory. Palgrave, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Burawoy M (2001) Transition without transformation: Russia’s Involutionary road to capitalism. East European Politics and Societies and Cultures 15(2):269–290Google Scholar
  17. Bures O (2015) Private security companies: transforming politics and security in the Czech Republic. Palgrave, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. Caspersen N, Stansfield G (2010) Unrecognised states in the international system. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Cheterian V (2011) War and peace in the Caucasus: Russia’s troubled frontier. Hurst, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. Collier P, Hoeffler A (2004) Greed and grievance in civil war. Oxf Econ Pap 56:563–595Google Scholar
  21. Connolly W (2013) The fragility of things. Duke University Press, DurhamGoogle Scholar
  22. Coppieters B (2004) The Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. In: Coppieters B et al (eds) Europeanisation and conflict resolution: case studies from the European Periphery. CEPS, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  23. Cordell K, Wolff S (2010) Routledge handbook of ethnic conflict. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Cornell Svante E (2002) Autonomy as a source of conflict: Caucasian conflicts in theoretical perspective. World Politics: A Quarterly Journal of International Relations 54(2):245–276Google Scholar
  25. Cornell SE (2001) Small nations and great powers. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Cornell SE, Starr F (2009) Guns of august: Russia’s war in Georgia. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  27. Deleuze G (1992) What is a dispositif. In: Armstrong T (ed) Michel Foucault: philosopher. Harvester Wheatsheaf, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Deleuze G, Guattari F (1987) A thousand plateaus. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  29. Derluguian G (2005) Bourdieu’s secret admirer in the Caucasus. Chicago University Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  30. Ditrych O (2010) Georgia: a state of flux. J Int Relat Dev 13(1):13–25Google Scholar
  31. Ditrych O (2014) Tracing the discourses of terrorism: identity, genealogy and state. Palgrave, LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. Ditrych O. (2018) govern thy neighbour: a Foucauldian analysis of EU’s Neighbourhood Policy (Forthcoming)Google Scholar
  33. Fearon J, Laitin D (2001) Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war. Am Polit Sci Rev 97(1):75–90Google Scholar
  34. Flores T, Nooruddin I (2011) Credible commitment in post-conflict recovery. In: Coyne C, Matters R (eds) Handbook of the political economy of war. Edward Elgar, LondonGoogle Scholar
  35. Foucault M (1979) History of sexuality I: the will to power. Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  36. George J (2009) Expecting ethnic conflict: the Soviet legacy and ethnic politics in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In: Wooden A, Stefes C (eds) The politics of transition in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. German T (2012) Securing the South Caucasus: military aspects of Russian policy towards the region since 2008. Eur Asia Stud 64(9):1650–1666Google Scholar
  38. Gerrits A, Bader M (2016) Russian patronage over Abkhazia and South Ossetia: implications for conflict resolution. East Eur Polit 32(3):297–313Google Scholar
  39. Gill S (1995) Global Panopticon? The neoliberal state, economic life and democratic surveillance. Alternatives 20(1):1–49Google Scholar
  40. Grossman G (1977) The second economy of the USSR. Probl Post-Communism 26(5):25–40Google Scholar
  41. Gurwood J (1842) The dispatches of field Marshall the Duke of wellington. John Murray, LondonGoogle Scholar
  42. Hansen TB, Steputat F (2006) Sovereignty revisited. Annu Rev Anthropol 35:295–315Google Scholar
  43. Hameiri S, Jones L (2015) Governing borderless threats. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  44. Horowitz D (2001) The deadly ethnic riot. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  45. Hughes J, Sasse G (2001) Ethnicity and territory in the former Soviet Union. Frank Cass, LondonGoogle Scholar
  46. International Crisis Group (2013) Abkhazia: the long road to reconciliation. International Crisis Group, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  47. Isaenko A (2013) Polygon of Satan: ethnic traumas and conflicts in the Caucasus. Kendall Hunt, DubuqueGoogle Scholar
  48. Japaridze T, Rondeli A (2004) Europe is on Georgia’s mind. In: Asmus R, Dimitrov K, Forbrig J (eds) A new Euro-Atlantic strategy for the Black Sea region. The German Marshall Fund of the United States, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  49. Jones S (2015) Kakha Bendukidze and Georgia’s failed experiment. OpenDemocracyGoogle Scholar
  50. Kaufman S (2001) Modern hatreds: the symbolic politics of ethnic war. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  51. King C (2001) The benefits of ethnic war: understanding Eurasia’s unrecognized states. World Politics: A Quarterly Journal of International Relations 53(4):524–552Google Scholar
  52. King C (2009) The ghost of freedom. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  53. Kukhianidze A, Kupatadze A, Gotsiridze R (2004) Smuggling through Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region of Georgia. Transnational Crime and Corruption Center, TbilisiGoogle Scholar
  54. Kupatadze A (2010a) Organised crime and the trafficking of radiological materials: the case of Georgia. The Nonproliferation Review 17(2):219–234Google Scholar
  55. Kupatadze A (2010b) Transitions after transitions: coloured revolutions and organised crime in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. Ph.D. dissertation, University of St. Andrews, GlasgowGoogle Scholar
  56. Latour B (2005) Reassembling the social. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  57. Lévi-Strauss C (1966) The savage mind. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  58. Lobo-Guerrero L (2007) Biopolitics of specialized risk: an analysis of kidnap and ransom insurance. Security Dialogue 38(3):315–334Google Scholar
  59. Ludvík J, Smetana M (2018) Between war and peace: unpacking the concept of frozen conflict. Asia Europe Journal (in press)Google Scholar
  60. Lynch D (2004) Engaging Eurasia’s separatist states. United States Institute of Peace, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  61. Mitchell T (1991) The limits of the state: beyond statist approaches and their critics. Am Polit Sci Rev 85(1):77–96Google Scholar
  62. Naylor RT (2002) Wages of crime: black markets, illegal finance and the underworld economy. Cornell University Press, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  63. Pegg S (1999) International society and the De facto state. Ashgate, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  64. Perry V (2009) At cross purposes? Democratization and peace implementation strategies in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s frozen conflict. Hum Rights Rev 10(1):35–54Google Scholar
  65. Rydgren J (2007) The power of the past: a contribution to a cognitive sociology of ethnic conflict. Sociol Theory 25(1):225–244Google Scholar
  66. Sack R (1986) Human territoriality. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  67. Sasse G (2007) The crime question: identity, transition and conflict. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  68. Sassen S (2008) Territory, authority, rights: from Medieval to global assemblages. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  69. Scott J (2009) The art of not being governed. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  70. Shesterinina A (2016) Collective threat framing and mobilization in civil war. Am Polit Sci Rev 110(3):411–427Google Scholar
  71. Smith A (1999) Myths and memories of the nation. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  72. Snyder J (2000) From voting to violence: democratization and nationalist conflict. W. W. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  73. Souleimanov E (2013) Understanding Ethnopolitical conflict: Karabakh, South Ossetia and Abkhazia wars reconsidered. Palgrave, LondonGoogle Scholar
  74. Srivastava S (2013) Assembling international organizations. The Journal of International Organizations Studies 4(3):73–85Google Scholar
  75. Toal G (2012) The guns of august (2008): a review. Nationalities Papers: The Journal of Nationalism and Ethnicity 40(5):826–828Google Scholar
  76. Tsikhelashvili K, Shergelashvili T, Tokmazishvili M (2012) The economic transformation of Georgia in its 20 years of independence. EI-LAT, TbilisiGoogle Scholar
  77. Tudoroiu T (2016) Unfreezing failed frozen conflicts: a post-soviet case study. J Contemp Eur Stud 24(3):375–396Google Scholar
  78. de Waal T (2010) The Caucasus: an introduction. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  79. Wallensteen P (2015) Understanding conflict resolution, 4th edn. SAGE, LondonGoogle Scholar
  80. Welt C (2010) The thawing of a frozen conflict: the internal security dilemma and the 2004 prelude to the Russo-Georgian war. Eur Asia Stud 62(1):63–97Google Scholar
  81. Williams RM (1994) The sociology of ethnic conflicts: comparative international perspectives. Annu Rev Sociol 20:49–79Google Scholar
  82. Zerubavel E (2003) Time maps: collective memory and the social shape of the past. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  83. Zurcher C (2007) The post-soviet wars: rebellion, ethnic conflict, and nationhood in the Caucasus. NYU Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.D.CENT Karl Deutsch Centre for International Political and Social Research, Faculty of Social SciencesCharles UniversityPragueCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations