I am a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Human Security Programme at Aarhus University and Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam.

Research Interests:

My research interests are centered around conflict dynamics regarding de-facto states, such as issues of (nation-) state building, violence, ethnicity & (post-) conflict, borderization and (im-)mobility politics. My main geographic focus at the moment is the Post-Soviet Sphere, with specific focus on the semi-recognized Republic of Abkhazia, the Republic of Georgia and Ukraine.

Current Research:
I am currently engaged in a research project at Aarhus University and the University of Amsterdam, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (2022-2024) titled: Territorial Phantom Pain: Exploring the Post-Conflict Environment of Territorial Loss, Crisis and Non-Return in the Republic of Georgia.

Here, I focus on the protracted displacement crisis in the Republic of Georgia and how this protracted displacement pushes our thinking and use of the concept of crisis. Following the 1992-93 Georgian-Abkhaz War, an estimated 250,000 ethnic Georgians were displaced as they were forced to leave their homes in Abkhazia. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) were accommodated in temporary housing (often abandoned buildings unfit for habitation) and IDP camps in Georgia, intended as temporary solutions until Abkhazia would be re-incorporated into the Georgian state, after which they could return home. However, this never happened, and to this day these people live in the limbo of not being allowed to fully integrate into Georgian society, but also not being able to return home. This project will deepen our understanding of the tangible impact of protracted crisis, the use of the term ‘crisis’ in policies and political strategies, and the impact that forced protracted crisis has on the affected population. It looks at the concept of crisis, which often implies an immediacy and urgency. But what if a crisis simply continues and turns into something chronic? What if a crisis loses its urgency and becomes normalized in everyday life? Can we still call it a crisis? When does a crisis end?

In addition, I am a Lecturer in the Human Security Masters Programme.

-Mikel Venhovens