Public Lecture “Why location matters: Understanding the Mechanisms of Conflicts in the Context of Geography”

At the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University will be held a public lecture “Why location matters: Understanding the mechanisms of conflicts in the context of geography”, organized by the faculty of social and political sciences.

The speakers, Professor Kristin M. Bakke (University College London, United Kingdom), Professor John O’Loughlin (University of Colorado Boulder, United States) and Professor Gerard Toal (Virginia Tech, United States) will discuss the examples of Northern Ireland, Kenya and “Near Abroad”.

What distinguishes political geography from other social sciences is the belief that where politics takes place should be a focus of any study that aspires to full understanding. In the disciplines of geography and political science, recent advances in geospatial methods have added to the classical and critical geopolitical traditions to help advance our knowledge of precisely how location matters. The study of conflict is especially suited to geographic approaches since territoriality and control of spaces underlies much of the motivations for violence.  In this lecture, we present three examples of the application of a geographic lens to understanding conflict.  In Northern Ireland, social control of neighborhoods by paramilitary groups since the 1998 Good Friday agreement is perpetrated through violent punishments, drawing on localized legacies of social control from the conflict.   In the case of Kenya, localized violence between ethnic groups is often associated with resource and food scarcities due to climate change and competition for political power. In the case of the “Near Abroad”, especially in Ukraine and Georgia, great power competition has impacted existing conflicts within and between states seeking post-Soviet futures.  Together the three examples show the ‘power of place’ and the value of a geographic perspective on contemporary conflicts.

Date/Time: Tuesday 14 May 2019, 12:00 - 14:00

Venue: I. Chavchavadze Ave. #1, Room #107 


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