Rogues, Cowards and Ideologues: Social Networks and Regime Transformation in Georgia

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join us for a talk by Julie George, Visiting Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs, SIPA and Associate Professor of Political Science, Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.

How do politicians in weakly institutionalized states make decisions on whether and when to defect from teetering regimes? What considerations haunt politicians as they decide to stay with a ruling party or to join the promising but disruptive upstart? Georgian politics since independence has been prone to tumultuous and abrupt changes of power, with profound consequences not just for policymaking but also for setting precedents on how to pursue change in society. This project examines the individual decisions of the political actors that enabled the 2003 Rose Revolution, which ended the presidency of Eduard Shevardnadze and cleared a path for Mikheil Saakashvili’s rise. Using unique data, social network analysis and in-depth field research, this project reveals the power – and weaknesses – of social networks in determining political outcomes in hybrid regimes.