New Publications: April-May 2015

Book Chapter

Kakachia, K. (2015). Europeanisation and Georgian foreign policy. In The South Caucasus Between integration and fragmentation (pp. 11-18). SAM & EPC

Euro-Atlantic integration is Georgia’s top foreign policy priority. It is less a question of choice than a strategic necessity. Tbilisi’s main objectives are close association with the EU; visa liberalisation; obtaining a Membership Action Plan (MAP) from NATO; and securing economic assistance from the West. While refraining from formal diplomatic relations with Moscow due to Russia’s occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian authorities want to engage in a constructive dialogue with Russia without having to sacrifice national interests. As the government so far displays no subservience to Russian influence and repeatedly emphasises the need for continued Euro-Atlantic integration, there are some indirect signs that Moscow, emboldened by the change of leadership in Tbilisi, is seeking to lure Georgia into the Russian political and security realm.

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Academic Articles

Kabachnik, P., & Gugushvili, A. (2015). Unconditional love? Exploring hometown effect in Stalin’s birthplace. Caucasus Survey, 1-23.

This article explores the impact of spatial location – place – on people’s attitudes by examining whether support for Stalin is concentrated in his birthplace: Gori, Georgia. Using a variety of multivariate statistical methods, including propensity score-matching, we examine a recent survey indicating high levels of admiration for Stalin in his home country. We explore two main questions: First, is there a “hometown effect” – do people in Gori love Stalin unconditionally because they came from the same place? Second, is Gori so exceptional from the rest of Georgia? We conclude that there is indeed a stronger level of support for Stalin in Gori, but when shifting scales and looking within the category, we find that the highest admiration stems from the town’s rural outskirts.

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Gould, R. (2015). Everyday Violence, Quotidian Grief: Patriarchal Bargains in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge. Dossier: Journal of Women Living Under Muslim Laws, 32-33, 123-135.

Across the Caucasus and Central Asia, bridal kidnapping has increased since the collapse of the Soviet Union. This proliferation is linked in part to increased economic hardship and the resurgence of conservative identity politics. This essay focuses on bridal kidnapping in the Pankisi Gorge, a region of Georgia inhabited by a Chechen-speaking Muslim community, the Kists. While local Kist activists reject the view that bridal kidnapping derives from Chechen values and denounce the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators, the relation between patriarchy and local culture cannot be mapped according to a single axis. I concentrate on one Kist women with whom I interacted extensively to explore issues of consent and agency in a social milieu that managed sexual desire through marriage contract. Drawing on the paradigm of the ‘patriarchal bargain’ pioneered by Kandiyoti (1988), I trace how Kist women assert agency from within restrictive patriarchal contexts. At the same time, and in keeping with Kandiyoti, I examine how women participate in the consolidation of patriarchal values. Ultimately, I show that women give consensual assent to everyday violence against women in contexts where their culture and values are perceived as under threat from external forces.

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Brun, C. (2015). Home as a Critical Value: From Shelter to Home in Georgia. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees31(1), 43-54.

Providing shelter and housing is a core area of humanitarian assistance for displaced populations. Georgia, a former Soviet republic in the South Caucasus, has experienced displacement since the early 1990s, and housing has proved to be politically contentious and a major concern during the 20-year displacement crisis. In Georgia, as elsewhere, homemaking takes place during displacement in dwellings that are temporary and not supposed to last. The article explores the conditions that enable such homemaking and discusses what Iris Marion Young terms “home as a critical value.” One trial project is used as an example: the building of 42 small houses, termed “block houses,” in Kutaisi, Western Georgia, by the Norwegian Refugee Council in 2002 and 2003. The article explores the relationships and homemaking practices in and around the houses that people have developed since that date. Relative to others, the project has been a positive example of how to enable home as a critical value. The article first defines house-as-home and introduces the case explored; it then discusses internal displacement and “durable housing solutions” in Georgia, before turning to explore how shelter, housing, home, and homemaking can be conceptualized in displacement . By engaging with Iris Marion Young’s “home as a critical value,” the article analyzes how people have adjusted to and adapted the block houses in Kutaisi to understand the relationship between the houses and the homemaking that takes place within and around them. The concluding section discusses how home as a critical value may help to show the importance of identity and social status for housing strategies in protracted displacement.

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German, T. (2015). Heading west? Georgia’s EuroAtlantic path. International Affairs91(3), 601-614.

Events in Ukraine in 2014 are likely to transform the presence and role of western institutions such as NATO in the post-Soviet area. The crisis has starkly revealed the limits of their influence within Russia’s ‘zone of privileged interest’, as well as the lack of internal unity within these organizations vis-à-vis relations with Moscow and future engagement with the area. This will have long-term implications for the South Caucasus state of Georgia, whose desire for integration into the Euro-Atlantic community remains a key priority for its foreign and security policy-makers. This article examines the main motivators behind Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic path and its foreign policy stance, which has remained unchanged for over a decade despite intense pressure from Russia. It focuses on two aspects of Georgia’s desire for integration with European and Euro-Atlantic structures: its desire for security and the belief that only a western alignment can guarantee its future development, and the notion of Georgia’s ‘European’ identity. The notion of ‘returning’ to Europe and the West has become a common theme in Georgian political and popular discourse, reflecting the belief of many in the country that they are ‘European’. This article explores this national strategic narrative and argues that the prevailing belief in a European identity facilitates, rather than supersedes, the central role of national interests in Georgian foreign policy.

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Bagnardi, F. (2015). The Changing Pattern of Social Dialogue in Europe and the Influence of ILO and EU-Georgian Tripartism. Caucasus Social Science Review (CSSR), 2(1).

This paper aims to analyse the establishment of tripartite social dialogue practices at national level in the Republic of Georgia. The introduction of such practice is the result of European Union’s political pressures, International Labour Organization’s technical assistance and international trade unions confederations’ (namely the ETUC and the ITUC) support. After describing the practices of social dialogue in Western and Eastern Europe, the paper outlines, with a comparative viewpoint, the process that led to the establishment of a national commission for a tripartite social dialogue between government and organized social partners in Georgia. A particular attention is paid to the pressure, leverage and technical help provided by the aforementioned international actors in this process. Moreover, the research illustrates the main achievements and failures of tripartitism in Georgia, as well as the principal constraints that limit the effectiveness of this practice. It is therefore analysed the influence that possible future development of tripartite dialogue between government and social partners can have on the social, economic and political development of the country as a whole.

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Barkaia, M. (2015). Inception and Demise of Laboratory 1918: Gendering Resistance in Georgia. Caucasus Social Science Review (CSSR), 2(1).

During the past few years, a reawakening of student activism and political concern has taken place in Georgia. Students have emerged as new social actors and have taken up a pioneering role in the formation of new forms of social protest. In the milieu of post-Soviet left-wing nihilism, a left-wing organization called Laboratory 1918 endeavored to make left-wing rhetoric relevant in public life without the stigma of being pro-Soviet and aspired to bring change through collective action. This paper explores the nature of student activism on the example of Laboratory 1918; it also investigates where Laboratory 1918 and its members position themselves in relation to gender oppression and how it impacts their feminist stance and activism.

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Dolidze, N. (2015). Public Administration Reforms in Georgia: Establishing Administrative Model for State Organizations. Caucasus Social Science Review (CSSR), 2(1).

The article compares the results of two waves of PA reforms in Georgian public sector in the period of 2004-2012 and overviews advantages and disadvantages of competitive and professional models of civil service in developing countries on the example of Georgia. The paper discusses results of the study conducted by the GIPA School of Government in 2014 on problems and challenges in Georgian public organizations and links them with the process of reform. We consider four instruments of internal organizational development – performance measurement, motivation, strategic planning and participatory approach to the decision making, which were introduced to the public organizations during the PA reforms in Georgia, and estimate how effectively they have been implemented.

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Schlegel, A. (2015). Georgia’s Integration into a Contested World: Finding the Middle Way Between Differentiation and Inclusiveness. Caucasus Social Science Review (CSSR), 2(1).

Nowadays, inter-state relations are well organized, and even present some similarities to human relations. This realization has led to the elaboration of the concept of ‘societies of states’, to describe how states with similar interests and values come to elaborate common rules to which they accept to submit themselves. Some of these societies have been institutionalized: the United Nations Organization, the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, the Council of Europe etc. Georgia as a relatively new state has deployed considerable efforts to join some of these societies, notably the EU. However, the success of such endeavours does not depend only upon the efforts of the candidate state: it also depends upon the willingness of the older member states of these societies to accept a new member. This article is aiming at measuring this willingness on the side of the EU member states, in relation to Georgia’s integration efforts. It also tries to expose the mechanisms beyond the EU’s requests for changes to Georgia, requests presented as accession conditions.

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Policy Briefs

MacFarlane, N. S. (2015). Two Years of the Dream: Georgian Foreign Policy During the Transition. Chatham House, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Research Paper.

Since coming to power in late 2012, the Georgian Dream coalition has encountered an extremely challenging foreign and domestic policy environment – marked, in particular, by the difficulty of balancing relationships with the West and Russia respectively. In its first year, the government’s foreign policy was impaired by inexperience and lack of professionalism, as well as by confusion and dysfunctionality caused by the sharing of power with President Mikheil Saakashvili. However, pragmatism and the depoliticization of economic issues have improved Georgia’s relations with Russia, but the process of normalization was truncated by Russia’s continuing unwillingness to accept Georgia’s right to choose freely its security arrangements. The relative success of Georgian Dream’s foreign policy so far has been largely a product of exogenous circumstances that encouraged the West and Russia to look more favourably on Georgia. The West’s disapproval of Georgian Dream’s justice agenda against former government officials did not prevent Georgia from signing an association agreement with the European Union and an enhanced programme of cooperation with NATO. Furthermore, the Georgian government achieved this without encountering significant interference from Russia. However, there appears to be little prospect for – and no clear government strategy towards – normalization of the relationship with Russia or membership of NATO and the EU.

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Thesis

Costello, M. (2015). Law as Adjunct to Custom? Abkhaz custom and law in today’s state-building and ‘modernisation’ (Doctoral dissertation). University of Kent.

The setting for research is Abkhazia a small country south of the Caucasus Mountains and bordering Europe and the Near East. The Abkhaz hold onto custom – apswara – to make of state law an adjunct to custom as the state strives to strengthen its powers to ‘modernise’ along capitalist lines. This institution of a parallel-cum-interwoven and oppositional existence of practices and the laws questions the relationship of the two in a novel way. The bases of apswara are its concepts of communality and fairness. Profound transformations have followed the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the breakaway from and subsequent war with Georgia, none of which have brought the bright prospects that were hoped-for with independence. The element of hope in post-Soviet nostalgia provides pointers to what the Abkhaz seek to enact for their future, to decide the course of change that entertains the possibility of a non-capitalist modernisation route and a customary state. Apswara is founded on the direct participatory democracy of non-state regulation. It draws members of all ethnicities into the generation of nationalist self-awareness that transcends ethnicity and religions, and forms around sacred shrines and decisions taken by popular assemblies. It has topical significance for other societies where custom and law co-habit through contestation, and questions some widely accepted theories about the relationship of the two, as well as problematising anthropological concepts of ‘legal pluralism’ and post-Sovietics.

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Filed in: News

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