Tamar Gamkrelidze
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Tamar Gamkrelidze is a PhD student in political science at Ilia State University as well as an alumna of Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, Erasmus Mundus EUROEAST, State Education Development Agency of Latvia, DAAD and Open Society Institute scholarship networks. Currently, Tamar holds a position of a researcher at Europe Our House. In 2010 she obtained her master’s degree in European Studies from Maastricht University. Earlier, Tamar worked as a RTA Assistant (EC Resident Twinning Advisor) at the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. For some time she was also a freelance journalist writing mainly on Georgia’s foreign relations. Her research interests lie in the fields of identity studies, EU external affairs, EU integration, and discourse theory

Curriculum vitae can be found here.

Doctoral thesis

Topic: “The Role of Europe in the Identity Formation of Post-Soviet Georgia”

Supervisor: Prof. Dr Ghia Nodia

Abstract:

The research relates to the undertakings of the United National Movement (UNM) government directed towards redefinition of the Georgian political identity in line with the European project within the period of 2004-2012. The project of Europe was introduced in Georgia by President Mikheil Saakashvili and the UNM government after assuming the power in 2004. The study engages to answer the question: To what extent did the UNM government manage to revise Georgian political identity through the European project?

The key theoretical concepts to be explored are the concepts of political identity and the European project. The study is interested in the process of identity formation. Here the key is to demonstrate the dynamics of identity change, how it has transformed over time as well as how “earlier meanings of Europe have influenced and been influenced by the Europeanization drive towards European unity”[1]

Because of the interdisciplinary character of the issue, the study utilizes the following methods: 1. A historical review and analysis of events that might have been influential for shaping identity; 2. A discourse analysis of debate(s) and discussion(s) among the political elites in 2004-2012. This second part of the research, however, solely focuses on President Saakashvili’s narrative.

The research finds that the UNM government redefined the political identity of Georgia through articulation of the national political project with the European values of liberal-democracy. Institutionalization of the European project, which targeted modification of cognitive principles, particularly ontological and normative notions, yielded new frames of the national political project. The pillars of the reimaged national project were “independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy, prosperity and Europe”[2]. The main pillar of the national political project, Christianity disappeared from the project, however it retained its centrality during the Saakashvili’s regime, as a cultural heritage of the country. Moreover, the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) was gradually dethroned from controlling cognitive principles by the UNM government through adopting laws and altering normative principles.

The research further argues that the European project introduced by the Georgian government in 2004 changed in 2006 due to escalating tensions with Russia. Escalation of relations with Russia, however, contributed to strengthening a position of the European project in Georgia in spite of all odds. Hence, although the European project in Georgia experienced certain difficulties because of the UNM government's mistakes and failure to handle internal problems in line with liberal-democratic principles, the European project turned into a main logic of a state building and development of Georgia, while Europe became one of the main pillars of the national political project.


[1] Strath, B. and Af Malmborg, M (eds) (2002) The Meaning of Europe. Variety and Contention within and Among Nations Oxford, Berg Publishers, pp.7

[2] Mikheil Saakashvili “The President of Georgia: “I was planning to go to the Parliament to offer them cooperation”, (speech, 02 August 2013), archives of the Saakashvili’s Presidential Library

Publications

Academic articles

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2019) The Project of Europe: A Robust Attempt to Redefine Georgian Identity, East European Politics, 35:3, 351-371, DOI: 10.1080/21599165.2019.1613645

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2019) Hegemony of the European Project in Georgia: From Foreign Policy Initiative to the Logic of State Building and Development, Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet DemocratizationVolume 27: 2, pp. 163-185

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2018) Agonism as a State Policy for Engagement of Church in the Project of Europe: the Case of Georgia, the Journal of Church and State, Oxford University Press, csy032, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcs/csy032

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2018) The Changing Image of Russia in the European Project of Post-Soviet Georgia, L'Europe en Formation, n#385, https://doi.org/10.3917/eufor.385.0026

Other publications

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2018): EU integration: A view from Georgia - Interview with Ghia Nodia. Berlin: EUCACIS PhD Support Programme, EUCACIS in Brief No. 4, August 2018, link to pdf.

Media Contributions

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2008): Russia fears to lose the energy monopoly in Europe, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Mar 28 – Apr 2. 

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2008): Ask the experts: November 7 and Russian angst could stall Georgia's NATO advancement, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Feb 29 – Mar 6. 

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2008): Expert discusses impact of US elections, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Feb 8 – 15.

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2008): Georgia Seen from Abroad, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Feb 1 – 7.

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2008): Too Early to Evaluate the Legacy of the Rose Revolution, Says Expert, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Jan 25 – 31.

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2008): Some Good, Some Shenanigans, Observers report, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Jan 11 – 17.

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2007): Tbilisi and Washington: The End of the Affair. An interview with GFSIS Director of Studies, Dr. Jonathan Kulick, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Nov 30 - Dec 6. 

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2007): Georgia's NATO Perspectives Uncertain as Bucharest Summit Draws Nearer, in:  Georgia Today Printed Edition, Dec 21 – 27.

Gamkrelidze, Tamar (2007): Zhvania and Badri: Late Prime Minister's Brother Throws his Name behind Georgia's Richest Candidate, in: Georgia Today Printed Edition, Dec 21 – 27.

 

 

 

 

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