Collective Identities and War in Abkhazia will be published March 15th with Cornell University Press
How do ordinary people navigate the intense uncertainty of the onset of war? Different individuals mobilize in different ways—some flee, some pick up arms, and some support armed actors as civil war begins.
Drawing on nearly two hundred in-depth interviews with participants and nonparticipants in the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992–1993, Anastasia Shesterinina explores Abkhaz mobilization decisions during that conflict.
Her fresh approach underscores the uncertain nature of the first days of the war when Georgian forces had a preponderance of manpower and arms. Mobilizing in Uncertainty demonstrates, in contrast to explanations that assume individuals know the risk involved in mobilization and make decisions based on that knowledge, that the Abkhaz anticipated risk in ways that were affected by their earlier experiences and by social networks at the time of mobilization.