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Dr. Klaudia Kosicińska - Porosity of the Border, Materialisation and Transience: (Im)mobility in South-East Georgia - Research Factory B/ORDERS IN MOTION

05.06.2024 16:15

05.06.2024 17:45

GD 102

Porosity of the Border, Materialisation and Transience: (Im)mobility in South-East Georgia
Dr. Klaudia Kosicińska (Institute of Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences)

The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 deeply affected (im)mobility patterns and translocal practices among the Azerbaijani minority in south-east Georgia next to the border with Azerbaijan and Armenia. Drawing on field research conducted in 2018-2023, I look at the transformation of mobility patterns among the Azerbaijani community and the changing of the notion of the border. The land border between Georgia and Azerbaijan suddenly “materialised” after the outbreak of the pandemic and the closure of the checkpoint with Azerbaijan in March 2020 (ongoing). This has affected the mobility of Azerbaijanis in both countries, including the maintenance of translocal family ties, and inspired new migration trends (i.a. Poland, Germany). I understand the border as the transient and material phenomenon of division between states, still negotiated and contested as exemplified by its former and current state, but also as boundary between communities and the state. Thus, I will focus on the border between two countries in material, social, political and symbolic dimensions, looking on it through the contexts in which it manifests itself and (dis)appears. What does the porosity of the border mean in these particular circumstances? Under what conditions it is open and for whom still closed, and how it is materialised? What kind of strategies and narratives do residents of this area use for their mobility having been restricted? To find answers to the research questions and the relevant methodology, I want to reflect on the participant observation method and the process of conducting interviews. I will also touch on challenges referred to the dynamic status of the border.