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Dr Andrea Peinhopf
ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow



Andrea Peinhopf joined the Department in October 2021 as an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow. Prior to this, Andrea completed an ESRC-funded PhD in Sociology and Anthropology at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She also holds an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and a Mag.phil. in Philosophy from the University of Vienna. She has held visiting positions at the Higher School of Economics in St Petersburg, Russia, and Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Andrea is an ethnographer and interdisciplinary peace and conflict scholar with a regional specialisation in the post-Soviet Caucasus. Her fieldwork-intensive research explores the long-lasting and complex effects of war, mass displacement and international isolation on people’s social relations and identities in the context of unresolved conflict and contested statehood. For her PhD thesis, she conducted extensive ethnographic field research among ordinary residents of Abkhazia, one of Georgia’s breakaway regions, providing unique insights into the lives of those who are often collectively denounced as perpetrators and the complex forms of victimhood that have come to shape their sense of belonging. Parts of her work have been published in Ethnopolitics, Nationalities Papers, the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies and The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality. In 2018, Andrea was a recipient of the Best Doctoral Paper Award by the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN). More recently, her article ‘The Curse of Displacement: Local Narratives of Forced Expulsion and the Appropriation of Abandoned Property in Abkhazia’ (2021) was awarded an honourable mention from the BASEES Women’s Forum. 

Her wider research interests include political violence, unresolved conflict, de facto states, everyday ethnicity, nationalism, everyday peace, complex victimhood, and qualitative methods in conflict research (especially ethnography).



As an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Andrea is currently working towards turning her PhD thesis into a monograph. The book aims to re-conceptualize post-war intimacy in a way that accounts for both inter-and intra-ethnic divisions engendered by war-and post-war experiences. It will place greater emphasis on the role of international isolation and further explore the phenomena of ‘ethnic claustrophobia’ and intra-ethnic mistrust as the flipside of ethnic intimacy, focusing on the ways in which international isolation not only fosters a so-called ‘siege mentality’ but also a recurring desire to ‘take a break’ and ‘escape’. To this end, Andrea will conduct additional field research both in the Caucasus and among peacebuilding practitioners in the UK. 

Beyond the book, Andrea is working on several funding proposals for a new project on how ethnically mixed families navigate unresolved conflict. She is also planning a workshop on everyday peace in the Caucasus that will bring together academics, policy-makers and peacebuilding practitioners to discuss the role that ordinary people can play in more formalised peacebuilding efforts.



Selected publications

Peinhopf, A. (2022) Crossing the conflict divide: De facto borders, state belonging, and the changing dynamics of enemy relations in Abkhazia, Ethnopolitics, pp. 1-18 (online first).

Peinhopf, A. (2021) The curse of displacement: Local narratives of forced expulsion and the appropriation of abandoned property in Abkhazia”, Nationalities Papers 49(4), pp. 710-727.

Peinhopf, A. (2021) Zaniato (Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Caucasus), in The Global Encyclopaedia of Informality: Understanding Social and Cultural Complexity, Volume 3, edited by Alena Ledeneva, London: UCL Press, forthcoming.

Peinhopf, A. (2021) Identity and Political Violence, in The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Peace and Conflict Studies, edited by Oliver Richmond and Gëzim Visoka, Cham: Palgrave MacMillan.

Peinhopf, A. (2014) Ethnic Minority Women in Georgia – Facing a Double Burden?, European Centre of Minority Issues (ECMI) Working Paper, No. 74.



Andrea is contributing to the MA module Politics of Peacebuilding and the undergraduate module Politics of Peace after Civil War. She is also supervising MA dissertations in the area of peace and conflict studies.

Contact details

Dr Andrea Peinhopf
Department of Politics and International Relations
University of York
YO10 5DD