The role of collective memory in the Georgian-Abkhaz reconciliation process: obstacle or opportunity?
The present research seeks to uncover the dynamics between forms of collective memory and current reconciliation processes between Georgia and the de facto state of Abkhazia. Based on assumptions derived from theoretical perspectives on dynamics of memory in relation to reconciliation after violent conflict, this thesis argues that reconciliation can be both negatively and positively affected by collective memory. The data utilized to address the topic was collected through interviews with civil society activists who are working on initiatives that deal with the legacy of painful memories in Georgia and Abkhazia. Through thematic analysis, it was confirmed that collective memory poses obstacles to reconciliation, in terms of mutually-exclusive narratives that discourage dialogue and the change of perceptions of conflicting parts. At the same time, various formats of dialogue and reconciliation taking place in Abkhazia and Georgia were described and assessed in terms of their potential in encouraging reconciliation.