WiP: Echo in the Periphery: the Change in Government and Local Politics in Georgia, 11 Decemeber – Giorgi Gotua, Mikheil Svanidze

American Councils and CRRC present the 15th talk in the Fall 2013 Works-in-Progress Series!

Giorgi Gotua, Mikheil Svanidze

“Echo in the Periphery: the Change in Government and Local Politics in Georgia”
Wednesday, 11 December, 2013 at 6:15pm

ISET/CRRC Georgia, Zandukeli St. 16, Tbilisi, GEORGIA

By 2013, independent Georgia has seen three full political transition cycles, and in October 2012 in a landmark case it saw its first electoral regime change. While the (world) political implications are hard to overstate, the case is of theoretical and perhaps comparative importance internally and regionally as well. The local power groups in the Georgian regions were caught off guard by the change, and have reacted in various ways to the election results. Our initial question therefore concerned the initial knee-jerk reactions and the subsequent regional political processes: how do such changes in the centre, the first of their kind, ripple out to the Georgian periphery? Second, through this reaction we examine the broader question of peripheral politics and their place in theory: can we speak of neopatrimonial structures in Georgia against the backdrop of the oft mentioned “democratization” paradigm? We attempted to look at the case of one Georgian municipality in order to demonstrate the endurance of the patron-client relationship. The present research argues that the neopatrimonial paradigm is relevant for the Georgian case.

Giorgi Gotua is an independent researcher with experience in academic and applied research projects. He studied Political Science and Sociology. Giorgi has worked on issues related to political parties , civil society, ethnic conflicts and international development. He is interested in the politics of development and transition.

Mikheil Svanidze is a PhD candidate at Ilia State University in Tbilisi. He has studied Sociology and Social Anthropology at Tbilisi State University and Central European University. His research interests include political anthropology and political parties, social movements and public spaces in post-socialist states. Methodologically Mikheil positions himself as an anthropologist with extensive qualitative fieldwork expertise. Currently he is working on his PhD thesis on the transformation of formal and informal public spaces in Georgia.


W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the International School of Economics (ISET) building (16 Zandukeli Street). It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public.The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

Would you like to present at one of the W-i-P sessions? Send an e-mail to natia@crrccenters.org.