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Working paper

Policing as spectacle in Georgia: The creation of boundaries in a post-revolutionary country

The paper contributes new perspectives to the study of post-communist reforms by highlighting the limits of the transition paradigm in the analysis ofreform processes in the post-Soviet space. It examines Georgia’s police reform and argues that the more repressive aspects of the reform should not be viewed as “setbacks” on a transition path, but as integral to the goal of constructinganew Georgian statethroughthe creation of symbolic divides between two different “Georgias”. This symbolic work of emphasising contrasts between different domains by casting light on and obscuring social phenomena is analysed through the lens of the “spectacle of policing” (Comaroffs 2004; Wacquant 2009).