Georgia’s struggles : Conflict resolution through entrepreneurship in a fragile state

dc.contributor.advisorBomert, H.W.
dc.contributor.authorEngels, R.P.
dc.description.abstractGeorgia has for a long time existed in relative obscurity. Little attention was given to this small country high up in the mountains on the margins of the European continent. This has changed dramatically since August 2008, and for good reason. The world watched in astonishment as matters escalated, and realised that this relatively modest armed conflict had implications transcending the region itself. The Russian Federation showed a willingness to engage militarily in its still existing spheres of influence. Although it was feared that such could be the case, it came as an unpleasant surprise nonetheless. This research set out to find answer to the question: In which way does local entrepreneurial development contribute to conflict resolution in Georgia’s unstable society and what are the limitations of this conflict resolution tool? The first part of the question, apart from its theoretical and social relevance, from the start incorporated a certain political relevance as well, as it deals with the resolution of conflict. However, in itself it seemed to have become irrelevant, because the conflicts in Georgia proved to be far away from the possibiliy of being solved at all when the violence erupted, let alone through entrepreneurship. The second part of the question however secured the relevance of the complete question, because an answer to it can shed a light on the necessary circumstances for such an approach to conflict resolution. According to theory, entrepreneurship can contribute to conflict resolution in a number of ways: through establishing trade and interdependence, through development and diversification, and through the removal of incentives for armed conflict. Research data taken from interviews and observation showed that numerous efforts are made to develop entrepreneurship, believing that it will have a peace effect. For entrepreneurship to be developed certain opportunities are present, and with the proper implementation of financial assistance and educational development nationwide, these opportunities can result in high-potential pro-growth entrepreneurship, in turn contributing to the conflict resolution process. When large barriers such as poor infrastructure, low levels of education, and the absence of security and stability are taken away, entrepreneurship can pave the way for a peaceful settlement of the conflicts. Or at least it could, but reality proved more stubborn. Who or what exactly caused the South Ossetian conflict to escalate is something which needs to be answered in a different format. However, it is relatively clear that it was politicians who were the major drivers of the conflict. Sadly, their decisions and actions have caused the conflicts in Georgia to be further away from a settlement acceptable to all sides than ever before. Possibilities for cross-border trade, one of the main opportunities for entrepreneurship to contribute to peace, has been made virtually impossible, at least for the time being. However, all is not lost, but due to circumstances the answer to the main research question has become more elaborate than previously anticipated: Through development and diversification, entrepreneurship takes away incentives for armed struggle and facilitates interethnic cooperation and trade; in turn this will contribute to conflict resolution. However, these effects are limited by a lack of financial resources, poor infrastructure, low education levels, and security issues; and impossible to achieve at all without political prioritisation to do so, or at least not to get in the way.en_US
dc.thesis.facultyFaculteit der Managementwetenschappenen_US
dc.thesis.specialisationConflicts, Territories and Identitiesen_US
dc.thesis.studyprogrammeMaster Human Geographyen_US
dc.titleGeorgia’s struggles : Conflict resolution through entrepreneurship in a fragile stateen_US
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