CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are pleased to announce the 7th talk of the Spring 2022 Tbilisi Works-in-Progress series!
****Given the continuing COVID situation, the Works-in-Progress sessions will continue in virtual format until further notice. To register for the event and automatically receive the Zoom info, click on the link below****
“The Social Construction of Survival: Nationalism and State Preferences”
By Eteri Tsintsadze-Maass, Old Dominion University
Date: April 27, 2022, at 18:30 Tbilisi time
One of the most widely-accepted assumptions in IR scholarship is that states care for their physical survival above all other interests. However, taking this preference as exogenously given and fixed makes it difficult to explain variations in state behavior under similar material constraints. This paper contributes to scholarship problematizing state preference formation and examining ontological security by proposing that the content and mobilization of national identities significantly influence how states interpret survival and their resulting international behavior. I test this theory through case studies of Georgia and Kazakhstan after the breakup of the Soviet Union, states that are generally thought to be especially constrained by structural factors due to their limited capabilities. In doing so, this paper demonstrates that weak states have more agency in determining their foreign policy behavior than most scholars expect, and that collective national identities represent a prominent source of the variation of state interests, interpretations of physical reality, and their foreign policy choices.
Eteri (Etuna) Tsintsadze-Maass is Assistant Director of the Graduate Program in International Studies (GPIS) at Old Dominion University, where she also teaches in the Department of Political Science and Geography. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation: Why Weak States Balance: National Mobilization and the Security Strategies of Post-Soviet States. She recently published an article on Nationalism, Weak States, and Unrealistic Realism at the Duck of Minerva.
Although this presentation currently take place in virtual format, in observation of the spirit of the Chatham House Rule to which the series generally adheres, the talk will not be recorded and we courteously request that the other participants refrain from recording and/or distributing it as well. The opinions expressed in WiP talks are those of the speakers alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC, ARISC or of American Councils.
WiP is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that normally takes place at the new office of CRRC at Liziko Kavtaradze St. 1. 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.