Georgia's Europeanization: performative games and peculiarities of ‘enforced socialization’

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Georgia's Europeanization: performative games and peculiarities of ‘enforced socialization’

Monday, 17 May 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Dr Lika Tsuladze (Tbilisi State University)
Professor Roy Allison (St Antony's) & Dr Oliver Ready (St Antony's)
Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre Monday Seminar

Lia (Lika) Tsuladze is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Tbilisi State University and Executive Director of the Center for Social Sciences. She is the author of more than 25 publications and 3 textbooks. Her research interests include Georgia’s Europeanization, issues related to national identity, and civic activism. Currently she is leading a Research WP for the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Actions' project entitled: "Mediatized EU: Mediatized Discourses on Europeanization and their Representations in Public Opinion" targeting the elite-media-public triangle in the seven countries of the EU and the EaP. 

The presentation deals with elite and popular discourses on Europeanisation in Georgia from the sociological perspective, focusing on the discursive “usage” of Europeanisation. This "usage" is analysed in the context of Europeanisation mechanisms, namely, conditionality and socialisation. Despite the fact that these two concepts are divergent, in Georgians' perceptions external demands (EU conditionality as a driver of reforms) and internal motivation (Georgia’s genuine aspiration to implement these reforms) harmoniously coexist. Moreover, Georgia’s elites and population state that it is this very combination—which we have termed “enforced socialization”—that will ensure the country’s successful Europeanisation. However, the respondents simultaneously stress the need for selective Europeanisation—that is, a careful incorporation of only selected EU standards. As a result, aspiration and resistance to EU standards are intertwined in a performative way, making the abovementioned discourses sound rather ambivalent.

Relevant publications on Georgia's Europeanization:

Tsuladze, L. (2021). Managing Ambivalence: An Interplay between the Wanted and Unwanted Aspects of European integration in Georgia. In B. Radeljić (ed.). The Unwanted Europeanness? Understanding Division and Inclusion in Contemporary Europe (161-184).  Berlin: De Gruyter.

Tsuladze, L., Esebua, F. & Osepashvili, I. (2021). Post-Visa Liberalization Discourses on Georgia’s Europeanization. Tbilisi: Nekeri.

Tsuladze, L. (2018). Georgian Dilemma: Concerns for National Identity and Quests for Europeanness. European Studies, 12, 37-61.

Tsuladze, L. (2017). On Europeanisation, National Sentiments and Confused Identities in Georgia. Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 50 (2), 125-133.

Tsuladze, L. et al. (2016). Performing Europeanization – Political vis-à-vis Popular Discourses on Europeanization in Georgia Tbilisi: Nekeri.

Tsuladze, L., Osepashvili, I. (2021). Georgia's Europeanization: Performative Games and Peculiarities of “Enforced Socialization”. Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 29 (1), 91-109. 

Lika has recently become interested in environmental civic participation and its challenges in Georgia, so the following two papers deal with this topic:

Tsuladze, L. (2021). A Monocrat’s Hobby and its Power: On Shadow Politics in Georgia. (2021). Caucasus Survey, 9 (1), 42-59.     

Tsuladze, L., Macharashvili, N. & Pachulia, K. (2018). SOS Tbilisi: Challenges to Environmental Civic Participation in Georgia. Problems of Post-Communism, 65 (5), 327-343.

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