Traumatic Masculinities: The Gendered Geographies of Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia
Over 200,000 people became internally displaced after several violent conflicts in the early 1990s in Georgia. For many internally displaced persons (IDPs), gender relations have been transformed significantly. This translates to many women taking on the role of breadwinner for their family, which often is accompanied by the process of demasculinization for men. In this article, we examine the construction of masculinities and analyze the gendered processes of displacement and living in post-displacement for Georgian IDPs from Abkhazia. We identify the formation of ‘traumatic masculinities’ as a result of the threats to, though not usurpation of, hegemonic masculinities. Drawing on interviews, we highlight how IDPs conceptualize gender norms and masculinities in Georgia. Despite the disruptions that displacement has brought about, with the subsequent challenges to IDPs’ ideal masculine roles, the discourses of hegemonic masculinities still predominate amongst IDPs. We further illustrate this point by identifying two separate gendered discourses of legitimization that attempt to reconcile hegemonic masculinities with the current contexts and circumstances that IDPs face. These new traumatic masculinities do coexist with hegemonic masculinities, although the latter are reformed and redefined as a result of the new contexts and new places within which they are performed.