Informal Economic Relations between Tbilisi and Dehli

Researcher: Ana Ramazashvili

Topic

Nowadays, Tbilisi is an important Caucasian centre for trade. A lot of goods sold and resold in Georgia come from Asia, and, according to my observations, are then traded into all directions and to the neighbouring countries Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia and Turkey.

After the Soviet Union had collapsed, many traders, starting from Tbilisi, went to India for the first time, to buy some merchandize. In the beginning, they went there with a tourist visa and brought some goods and sold them through informal channels, because trade networks and business was not allowed officially. Nowadays, strong networks between Georgians and Indians have been established. One of the biggest markets in Tbilisi, ‘Lilo’ market, is the place where customers can find all kinds and huge amounts of goods imported from India. Building on my previous research on Lilo market, I shall investigate the Georgian traders, who travel to India, and the Georgian-Indian business relations that have been established in recent years.

Questions/hypothesis

My research questions include the following questions: How are business-networks being established and how do they work? What are the factors influencing economic relations? Which importance can be ascribed to state institutions and how do traders deal with the state(s)? To which degree does the ethnic and social background determine the economic activity of traders?

Methods/data

Anthropological field research will be conducted by implementing classical fieldwork methods like participant observation. Furthermore archive work shall provide the historical background of Indian-Georgian trade.

Collaboration with other group members and contribution to the joint project

Collaboration is planned with all research group members. The research is a PhD project and will be supervised by Ketevan Khutsishvili, Hasan Karrar and Roland Hardenberg.

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