Transformative gender narratives in South Caucasus: Conversations with NGO women in the Armenian-Azeri conflict

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Transformative gender narratives in South Caucasus: Conversations with NGO women in the Armenian-Azeri conflict

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title Transformative gender narratives in South Caucasus: Conversations with NGO women in the Armenian-Azeri conflict
Author(s) Jocbalis, Mindaugas
Date 2016
English abstract
The purpose of this thesis is to discuss the role of women as intermediaries, mediators and arbitrators in conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the de facto region of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is highly relevant to comdev due to several reasons. First, it is an active issue. The number of deaths from border clashes has increased in 2014-2016 despite a ceasefire signed in 1994. Second, women and civil society groups are oppressed. This thesis explores the question of women’s contribution in solving conflicts considering masculinity, gender complex and war. Are women better at solving conflicts? Third, new media has become an important tool for cross border communication. Focus is given to use of social media by women in an attempt to facilitate change of discourses. Critical discourse analysis, hermeneutics and social constructivism are considered as methodologies to evaluate this. However, there is a number limitations here including use of English language, limited participant numbers and response bias. Background information on conflict is presented and includes analyzing the role of national and international organizations such as parliaments, the Minsk Group (OSCE) European Commission (EPNK) and the UN (1325). A brief literature review is then conducted focusing on conflict area, historical discourses and peace building narratives. This is followed by an examination of post-soviet literature on masculinity, nation-building, feminism and changing role of active women, centering on Caucasus and Nagorno-Karabakh. Topics explored are women’s rights, political involvement, language, religion and cultural turn. Next stage is a summary of research questions for qualitative interviews with five women participants who are or work with active women in Transcaucasia. From available data, main premise becomes new role of active women as peace builders in conflict acting individually, in NGO’s and in government and attempting to facilitate discussion with lawmakers and negotiators in conflict. After research, primary and secondary data is analyzed. Responses are evaluated over the methods mentioned and main contributions are considered to be on grassroots activism funded by international NGO’s. It is not clear whether women would be better at resolving complex but their contribution to nation building has been proven. New media becomes a tool for activist communication and propaganda. Women find themselves dealing with nationalism, marginalization and breakdown of democratic institutions. They turn to international NGO’s but this often backfires as Armenian and Azerbaijani society and government sees this as Western intrusion. Progress is slow and daily lives are ruled by uncertainty, discrimination and faint hope of resolve.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 96
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) gender
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