WiP Series: Political Power of Cultural Elites in Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia, March 28 – Inge Snip (ENG)

The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), American Councils and American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC) are pleased to announce the 9th Works-in-Progress talk of the Spring 2012 season!
Inge Snip, Uppsala University

“Elite Configuration in Post-Soviet Georgia and the Political Power of the Cultural Elite”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 – 6:15 PM
ISET/CRRC Georgia, Zandukeli St. 16, Downstairs Conference Room
Invisible structures in society, such as elite configurations, both enable and restrict the social interactions that reinforce the exercise of power and influence, which in turn affect political/economic development and social mobility. In order to understand how societies work and why certain political processes seem to develop in unexpected ways, it becomes necessary to take a closer look at different aspects of society. In post-Soviet Georgia, the cultural elite seem to possess a large amount of status, and hence, power. For example, when one only looks at the Wikipedia page on ‘Influential Georgians’ one notices right away the emphasis on cultural figures. Therefore, this presentation will focus on Georgia’s current cultural elite. Following the theoretical framework constructed by Mattei Dogan and his colleagues on elite configuration, the project will study Georgia’s elite groups, concentrating on ‘the relative position and size of various elite circles in the constellation of power.

Currently, the project is in the process of collecting data through informal snowballing methods on one hand, and through in-depth qualitative interviews with various elite groups on the other hand. The elites are identified through John Scott’s interpretation of Max Weber stratification theory, looking at status, and hopefully identifying which of these groups possess perceived command. The research will focus on the perceptions of these groups towards each other’s position in society and their own – arguing that it will be possible to come to a conclusion regarding their perceived positions by cross-referencing the interviews and looking for comparisons and discrepancies.
Inge Snip has been living in and out of Georgia for the last 4 and ½ years, working for several NGO’s and founding Evolutsia.net, a news and analysis website covering the political landscape of Georgia. She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Politics and International Studies at Uppsala University, for which she spent 6 months conducting individual research on elite configuration at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University in NYC. Her thesis will focus on Georgia’s current cultural elite, and the research will include sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s ideas of capital, arguing that not only economical capital creates power within society, but also social, cultural and symbolic capital. Inge has a LLB degree in International and European Law from the University of Groningen, and a Russian language certificate from Kyiv National Economic Trade University, where she studied for one year. For a full resume you can visit her linkedin profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/ingesnip.
W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place every Wednesday 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 wip@crrccenters.org.