26 June 2013

PhD dissertation: "Evasive Politics"

- Paradoxes of History, Nation and Everyday Communication in the Republic of Georgia

PhD dissertation by Katrine Gotfredsen

PhD thesis front pageGeorgian politics and Stalin

The dissertation examines formations of the political in the Republic of Georgia. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the provincial town Gori, birthplace to Joseph Stalin, it departs from the contested and ambiguous nature of the former Soviet leader as a:

  • Political figure
  • Historical figure
  • Moral figure

Paradoxical everyday perceptions

In an effort to trace formations of political practice across societal scale Katrine Gotfredsen examines and analyses:

  • The town’s Stalin Museum
  • Post-communist nostalgia
  • The Georgian banquet
  • Suspicion and uncertainty connected to socio-political realities

In doing so, the dissertation empirically describes how formal political institutions and policies, including their rhetorical presentation to the public, intersect with everyday perceptions, social norms and rationales and often, in the end, produce counter-intuitive and seemingly paradoxical outcomes.

Dual politics

Katrine Gotfredsen argues that while certain elements of Georgian politics are exceptionally articulated and visible, what is most explicitly signified and performed may not always be, in itself, that which holds the greatest political potential.

Rather, based on the empirical cases, the dissertation proposes that the political assume a particular dual form that may be conceptualised as “evasive” – oscillating between presence and absence, visibility and invisibility, articulation and silence.


Considering politics as evasive, Katrine Gotfredsen suggests, assists us in illuminating the political productivity of the apparently absent in various qualities and invites us to embrace the paradoxes producing, reproducing, and, now and then, changing political landscapes.

You can purchase the dissertation at Academic Books (academicbooks.com), Øster Farimagsgade 5, DK-1353 Copenhagen K.