Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Conflict Resolution Institute

First Advisor

Tamra Pearson d'Estree, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Martin Rhodes, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Timothy Sisk


Frozen conflict, Georgia, Internally displaced person, IDP, Intractability, Refugee, Soviet


Though commonly overlooked, communities of displaced persons often play a complex and significant role in the emergence and perpetuation of ethnic conflict. This paper looks at the intersection of these themes in the conflict between the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and the separatist region of Abkhazia. In particular it looks at the nature of protracted or "frozen" conflict with particular attention to the role of the displaced community in the conflict's entrenchment. Specifically, it seeks to answer the question: why do certain conflicts go unresolved for so long, and what role do refugees play in this resolution resistance?

The paper is based on field research conducted in Georgia, including interviews with 45 Georgian internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Abkhazia. The results of the study suggest that various forces and motivations acting on the IDP community have the effect of entrenching it in the ambiguous state of neither returning to Abkhazia nor integrating into Georgian society that has become the status quo, and that this entrenchment plays a role in the factors that contribute to the frozen state of the conflict. In particular, the study suggests that power and identity play an unexpectedly large role in maintaining this population's status quo.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kate Elizabeth Zimmerly


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

159 p.


International law, Russian history, Social psychology