March 5, 2014
Situating Public Space in Independent Georgia: Political Practices, Struggles and Perspectives
Conceptualizing public space has become especially important after the “spatial turn” in the social sciences. Political geographers like Edward Soja, David Harvey or Henri Lefebvre have sought, from different perspectives, to return space as a discursive instrument to sociology or political debates. In more recent years, erosion of public space and contesting it have been consistently making news both in the US, Europe and the Middle East including Turkey.
Finally, I will make a few comparative points of the “state” of public space in some of the former USSR countries.In the presentation, I will attempt to overview the transformation of the public space in Georgia after the fall of USSR with special emphasis of the political perception of the public space in since the 2003 Rose Revolution – both from the government and the people. Theoretically, I will briefly speak about three distinct perspectives on public space – legal-economic, socio-spatial and political. Along with the theoretical discussion I will bring out the Georgian examples of those three avenues of thought (as well as professional/political practices) on public space, merging the sociological and political analyses.