After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s declaration of independence in 1991, the country experienced numerous political crises. This had devastating impacts on the economy and society and was one of the drivers of migration of large numbers of Georgians to other countries. However, the economy was not the only factor: social and individual circumstances also play a role in the decision to migrate. Georgia simultaneously became part of a globalisation process in which international exchange relationships gained in importance and the social order of the nation-state was transformed. The new transboundary socio-spatial relations that have emerged as a result have visible economic, political, and socio-cultural impacts, inter alia on migrants and their families.
The effects of migrants’ financial transfers, known as remittances, on societies in the countries of origin have been a subject of discussion for some time. Social remittances, by contrast, are an under-researched topic at present, and there is a consequent lack of information on how the ideas, practices, attitudes, values, norms, and beliefs which Georgian migrants encounter abroad are transferred to the home country. These social remittances, which may be made consciously or subconsciously, should be analysed with reference to migrants’ individual and collective traits, taking into account the social relations in the country of origin. An accurate insight into social remittances enhances our understanding of how they influence and, in some cases, hinder social change in the country of origin.
This transnational project involves parallel research in Germany and Georgia. Based on a comparative approach, similarities, contrasts, and connections between the two localities can be identified. The aim is to reveal tensions, conflicts, and bargaining processes that point to changes in social relationships. Diana Bogishvili’s data collection is based on biographical interviews with Georgian migrants in Berlin and migrants’ families in Georgia.
The project is registered as a PhD thesis at Humboldt-Universität’s Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences and is supervised by Professor Magdelena Nowicka (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Professor Gwendolyn Sasse (ZOiS).
- How does long-term absence affect migrants themselves and their families in the country of origin?
- Which types of social remittances are generated by migrants’ long-term absence?
- How are social remittances exchanged transnationally, and what is their significance?