უკან სამშაბათი | 23 სექტემბერი, 2008
Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) 2008 Conference
As last year, we again went to the annual conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS). This year, it was held at Georgetown University. CESS conference focuses on issues that pertain to Central Eurasia (from the Kurds to the Mongols). What makes this conference attractive, then, is its geographical focus, and that it brings scholars together from a broad array of disciplines: demographers, sociologists, political scientists, ethnographers, linguists, historians, as well as a scattering of other niche groups.
The Caucasus usually has a slightly tenuous position within this conception of Eurasia, perched almost out of sight. This year, because of current events, it had more prominence (although the grand hall seen in the image below was only used for the keynote address on Afghanistan, otherwise we were in fairly grotty underground rooms).
One paper by Reid Hamel, a Ph.D. student in Demography at UC Berkeley and our former Summer Fellow, was based on CRRC data. Separately, we presented results from various opinion surveys at a Georgia-focused roundtable (with Julie George, Stephen Jones, Svante Cornell).
Striking, in many of the debates on ongoing issues, how, as one prominent Caucasus scholar put it, everyone is "so eager to confess others' sins". Indeed, one of the main impediments to scholarly debate was the repeated intrusion of standpoint statements ("what you said is an insult to all the victims..."), and the search for moral acclamation.
An urgent need, then, to move beyond the exchange of accusations, and for all sides to examine how they contributed to current events, and what they will need to do better. As Percy Cradock, a former British diplomat once put it: it's never the other side you have to worry about, it's your own. That change of approach would go some way towards the statesmanship that the Caucasus now needs: recognizing your own limitations and from such a precise understanding, forge new possibilities. Unrealistic ambitions can hold you hostage, sometimes more than an external power.
But in between, constructive debates, a variety of viewpoints, and a very rich list of topics. If you want to see who is working on what types of issues, take a look at the conference program. Kevin Tuite, Paul Crego, Julie George, Babken Babajanian and various other Caucasus scholars were present, and you may be interested in checking out what they are up to.
22.06.2015 | ორშაბათი
[Note: Over the next two weeks, Social Science in the Caucasus will publish the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015.]
25.02.2014 | სამშაბათი The Olympics in Sochi, Russia, took place about 30 kilometers from Russia’s border with the separatist region of Abkhazia in Georgia. As a security precaution, the Russian government has temporarily moved its border 11 kilometers into Abkhazia to create a “security zone,” at which travelers entering will have to show identification before proceeding to the actual border with Russia.
29.06.2014 | კვირა
CRRC Methodological Conference on Measuring Social Inequality in the South Caucasus and its Neighborhood
The second annual CRRC methodological conference took place on the 25th of June at Tbilisi State University. With over fifty attendees and a packed program of presentations, the conference drew together policy practitioners and researchers from the South Caucasus and beyond.
14.07.2014 | ორშაბათი
When is a war not a war? While it may seem commonsensical that a country cannot simultaneously be at war and at peace, the prevalence of several ‘frozen conflicts’ in the post-Soviet space defies simple categorization. If we take the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia or South Ossetia as an example, a quick internet search shows that there was a five-day war in 2008 that ended on the 12th of August with a preliminary ceasefire agreement.
11.08.2014 | ორშაბათი
The three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) are geographically, historically and politically bound closely together. Nevertheless, these countries often find themselves in disagreement when faced with broader geopolitical questions regarding alliances, threats and visions about the future of the region.
03.09.2012 | ორშაბათი
This blog focuses on public opinion in Armenia regarding the Nagorno Karabakh conflict using data from the 2011 Caucasus Barometer (CB). This follows a similar blog on the same set of questions asked in Azerbaijan. The results show some interesting similarities and dissimilarities between the two neighboring countries. Both populations show a great deal of uncertainty about when the conflict will be resolved. Over half of the Armenian population believes that a resolution can be found by peaceful negotiations.
09.02.2011 | ოთხშაბათი
In February 11, 2011, the CRRC-Azerbaijan office launched the third stage of its Junior Research Fellowship Program, funded by the Open Society Institute Think-Tank Fund. Fifteen selected participants will attend the next round of extensive trainings that will prepare them for writing public policy papers.
25.07.2011 | ორშაბათი
The Abkhaz and South Ossetian conflicts did not emerge in the 2008 August war. However, they escalated in the early 1990’s when both territories engaged in wars of secession and there are different approaches to the resolution of these conflicts. For the EU, these are regional issues with broad security implications.
12.09.2011 | ორშაბათი
A recent New York Times article argues that the failure of Western governments to recognize the latest presidential elections in Abkhazia on August 26, 2011 may hamper conflict resolution. According to the authors, Cooley and Mitchell, Western governments have a “counterproductive disdain” of developments in Abkhazia and isolating Sukhumi will reduce prospects for conflict resolution.
18.01.2010 | ორშაბათი
What do Georgians think about Russia? What relationship would they like to have with their northern neighbor? And what do they think about the August conflict? Our data allows a nuanced answer to these questions: although Georgians have a very critical view of Russia’s role in the August conflict, they continue to desire a good political relationship with their northern neighbor, as long as this is not at the expense of close ties with the West.
20.04.2010 | სამშაბათი
On 15 April, in front of a packed house at the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Tbilisi, Ron Asmus led a public debate on his new book, A Little War that Shook the World. The evening featured the kind of discussion one would expect: the strategic interests of Russia, the US and Europe, Georgia’s path to democracy and the international mechanisms and organizations that failed to prevent the 2008 August war in South Ossetia.
23.08.2010 | ორშაბათი
Over the last few weeks and months, we have regularly posted updates about what's going on, and where we stumbled on information we thought was interesting. We think these are useful contributions: small snippets, searchable, easy to find through Google, and a way for us at CRRC to think about synthesizing complex research into a handful of paragraphs. Note some of the emerging themes, such as the question of life satisfaction.
25.08.2010 | ოთხშაბათი
When presenting our work, or talking about it informally, we are asked fairly similar questions: do you do your interviewing in all of the country? How do you select the respondents? How do you know they are not lying to you? Are people willing to say things critical of the government? How do you design a questionnaire?
27.08.2010 | პარასკევი
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center showing that 18% of Americans think that US President Barack Obama is Muslim, and that a further 43% respond that they don't know what religion the President practices, has raised discussions about the level of political knowledge in democracies. Indeed, Newsweek has published a slideshow showing dumb things that Americans believe.
24.09.2010 | პარასკევი These are the CRRC Georgia team members who work hard on the numbers we usually present!
10.10.2010 | კვირა
We recently undertook a small online survey of PhD students at Georgia's two major universities. This comes at a time when significant programs and support are already available to Georgian PhD students: CSS is launching a new PhD program, ASCN is offering significant research opportunities, the US Embassy will launch a program with Ilia State University, and now there is CARTI as a further opportunity.
19.11.2010 | პარასკევი
Ambassador Dieter Boden, a distinguished German diplomat who has served both as German Ambassador to the OSCE as well as UN Special Representative to the Secretary General, spoke at the Europe House about conflict resolution in the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
01.04.2008 | სამშაბათი
We have recently conducted 20 focus groups across Georgia. (More on the content later.)
Here are some basic tips and tricks we found useful.
Here are some basic tips and tricks we found useful.
06.05.2008 | სამშაბათი
Sometimes it's worth clicking on those Gmail links. "Ask 500" is a website in beta, the web version of a straw poll. Polling? Surveys? Obviously I wanted to know more. To say it up front: it's about as unrepresentative as you can get, since it assembles those that suffer from terminal curiosity.
30.07.2008 | ოთხშაბათი
As many of you may have heard, this week saw the launch of a competitor to Google. Cuil, which apparently is an old Irish word for knowledge, has been set up by several former Googlists and promises a search that's more oriented on content, and says it can do a more comprehensive job in the ever-expanding worldwide web.
05.09.2008 | პარასკევი
Georgian IPResearch (first time we heard of them, actually) conducted a phone poll between Aug.25 and Sept.2. 450 respondents were questioned countrywide. While we have our strong reservations about these telephone polls (they are biased towards people with phones, picking up calls from strangers, and bored enough to chat), they may serve as a preliminary indication.
09.09.2008 | სამშაბათი
Corruption remains an endemic feature in the region, outside Georgia. No wonder, then, that it continues to receive considerable attention from organizations and donors. Currently, we are being asked to run a survey (we will publish details on that later). How do you do this? Not all of this research is intuitive. Here are a couple of examples of what can go wrong, taken from the draft questionnaire we were given.
24.09.2008 | ოთხშაბათი
Interested in urban development? Want to know how outsiders describe the urban experience of Baku? Two young researchers from Germany have set up a blog to follow their project in tracking changes in Baku. Oriana Kraemer and Sebastian Burger take photographs, attend lectures, and comment on what they observe. Given the inflow of sudden wealth, Baku witnesses comprehensive change. A great project, therefore.
26.09.2008 | პარასკევი
And here is an update on Russian views, made available by the Levada Center on the 22nd of September. As previously stated, this indicates that Russian public opinion generally supports the government's course.
02.10.2008 | ხუთშაბათი
In Georgia, attention now turns towards sorting out the impact of the short August conflict. How plausible is the reporting we are seeing? Do the journalists get it right?
13.11.2008 | ხუთშაბათი
Indices are engaging and instructive, but some really baffle us. The World Economic Forum (WEF), the organisation that organises the annual high-profile Davos meetings, has come up with a gender index, and the Caucasus is featured. The index is intended to measure how the world is closing the gender gap in education, health, and political and economic participation. In principle, this is a great idea, since there are significant challenges and discrepancies (as our data itself shows).
19.11.2008 | ოთხშაბათი
I attended State Minister Teimuraz Iakobashvili’s talk held at the Institute for European Studies at TSU on November 14. Overall, the talk was the first talk in Georgia I have seen where the majority of people who attended were Georgian students.
22.11.2008 | შაბათი
One of the most impressive recent survey efforts, measuring attitudes about different countries in transition, has been undertaken by EBRD. Called Life in Transition Survey (LiTS), this is an attempt to look at how 29 'transitioning' countries have developed following 1989. The survey tracks "public attitudes, well-being, and the impact of economic and political change".