Accepted Paper:

Assembling optimism: traffic of debts on the Georgian Black Sea coast  

Author:

Tamta Khalvashi (Ilia State University)

Paper short abstract:

Based on fieldwork among debtors on the Georgian Black Sea coast, the paper discusses the work of optimism in maintaining attachments to lost properties.

Paper long abstract:

The right to a house was recognized as a use right throughout the Soviet Union, not as a property right that could be monetized. But, heavily mortgaged houses along the Black Sea coastline of post-socialist Georgia demonstrate the emerging tensions between houses as assets and as homes. Based on fieldwork among debtors on the Georgian Black Sea coast, the paper discusses the work of optimism in maintaining attachments to lost properties. By focusing on a number of events that take place in debtors' heavily mortgaged houses, some of which function as sites for transnational prostitution and pimping, the paper demonstrates how debts can bring together and integrate diverse actors and visions that otherwise are dispersed between Georgian and Turkish Black Sea coast. While these debts allow for the potential of better future, they however create the context of social and economic "traffic" and uncertainty. An analysis of debts hence reveals problematic relation to the moral and material arrangements around people's properties, which actualize marginal social and historical sensibilities.

Panel P035
Home loss: house-ownership and credit in the austerity regime