• Nora Kverneland
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)
This project explores the sociopolitical aspects and implications of trade by using the case of the free trade agreement (FTA) between EFTA and Georgia. More specifically, it investigates the underlying values and belief, in which the notion of trade has come about. By using the ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ (WPR) approach, it explores the research question of why EFTA have an FTA with Georgia, and to which extent this can help facilitate development, peace and stability in Georgia. Provided with the six interconnected questions that constitute the WPR approach, the analysis takes a social constructivist stance while examining the research question. The analysis revealed that the problem representation in this policy is the adherence to international regimes. International regimes in this context refer to the norms, principles, rules and decision-making procedures and the expectations of the actors involved. Whether they are implicit or explicit, these principles, norms and rules give shape to how different actors interact with one another. The international regimes were furthermore divided into three interconnected concepts; democracy, human rights and international development. The latter part of the analysis includes a more critical approach as it investigates what is left unproblematic or silenced in the policy as well as the adverse effects. These adverse effects were furthermore identified being the EU’s and Georgia’s increased integration into the EU and Euro-Atlantic structures. Claiming to promote security and prosperity, the integration nevertheless could be viewed as creating further instability as Russia has geopolitical aspiration in the region. The other effect of the adherence to international regimes was in relation to production and the issue of origin. With the contested borders of Georgia, trade relations become entangled to the notion of sovereignty and power over territory and resources such as the hazelnuts of Abkhazia. The analysis showed that by using the WPR approach to looking beyond the financial and material aspects of trade, EFTA’s objective of having the FTA with Georgia is to promote the deep-seated values of democracy, human rights and sustainable development. As the analysis showed, through the lens of social constructivism, we can see that the actors aren’t necessarily concerned with material aspects but the focus lies within the transmittance of ideas, values, beliefs and norms the various international institutions that have been discussed. It becomes evident that although having good intentions are valuable; it can in some instances have the opposite effect, as in the case of the EU, Georgia and Russia tensions.
Publication date31 May 2018
Number of pages35
ID: 280154528