Due to a three-day strike called by the University and College Union in the UK this talk has been postponed to 2023. For details see: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/12469/FAQs
Drawing on nearly two hundred in-depth interviews with participants and nonparticipants in the war in Abkhazia collected over eight months of immersive fieldwork, Mobilizing in Uncertainty (Cornell UP, 2021) explores how ordinary people navigate the uncertainty of the onset of war. In contrast to explanations that assume individuals know the risk involved in mobilization and make decisions based on that knowledge, the book demonstrates that people come to perceive risk in different ways affected by their earlier experiences of conflict and by social networks at the time of mobilization. To make sense of the Georgian advance into Abkhazia in 1992, Abkhaz leaders, local authority figures, and others relied on shared understandings of the conflict and their roles in it—collective conflict identities—that they had developed before the war. These actors collectively framed the threat of Georgian forces, but people consolidated mobilization decisions within small groups of family and friends and based their actions on whom they understood to be threatened and mobilized to protect. These insights would not have been possible without careful attention to the meanings the interlocutors attributed to the events and ethnographic surprises that emerged as a result.
Anastasia Shesterinina (PhD UBC) is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Sheffield, where she holds a UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowship and directs the Centre for the Comparative Study of Civil War. Her Mobilizing in Uncertainty was awarded the 2022 APSA Charles Taylor Book Award of the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods group of the American Political Science Association. She has published in American Political Science Review, Journal of Peace Research, Perspectives on Politics, European Journal of International Relations, Cambridge Review of International Affairs and International Peacekeeping, among other journals. For more visit: https://anastasiashesterinina.com/
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