Anastasia Shesterinina


I am currently working on my book manuscript, Mobilizing under Uncertainty

My published/in review projects include:

Collective Threat Framing and Mobilization in Civil War,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 110, No. 3 (2016): 411-27.

Abstract: Research on civil war mobilization emphasizes armed group recruitment tactics and individual motivations to fight, but does not explore how individuals come to perceive the threat involved in civil war. Drawing on eight months of fieldwork with participants and nonparticipants in the Georgian-Abkhaz war of 1992–93, this article argues that social structures, within which individuals are embedded, provide access to information critical for mobilization decisions by collectively framing threat. Threat framing filters from national through local leadership, to be consolidated and acted on within quotidian networks. Depending on how the threat is perceived—whether toward the self or the collectivity at its different levels—individuals adopt self- to other-regarding roles, from fleeing to fighting on behalf of the collectivity, even if it is a weaker actor in the war. This analysis sheds light on how the social framing of threat shapes mobilization trajectories and how normative and instrumental motivations interact in civil war.

Evolving Norms of Protection: China, Libya, and the Problem of Intervention in Armed Conflict,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs, August 2016 (published online).

Abstract: This article examines the influence of civilian protection norms on China’s response to the 2011 crisis in Libya. It argues that Responsibility to Protect—an emerging norm commonly associated with the Libyan case—did not play a major role in China’s abstention on Resolution 1973 (2011) authorizing international intervention in Libya. For China, Responsibility to Protect is merely a concept and could not serve as the basis for intervention. Instead, Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, as a normative foundation for civilian protection endorsed by China, offers a more appropriate lens for understanding China’s vote. Protection of Civilians, however, does not accommodate China’s unprecedented evacuation of Chinese nationals from Libya. This operation proceeded from a third logic of Protection of Nationals Abroad, which poses dilemmas for China’s strict adherence to the principles of sovereignty and non-interference and brings to bear domestic interests and notions of protection.

Particularized Protection: UNSC Mandates and the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” (with Brian L. Job), International Peacekeeping, Vol. 23, No. 2 (2016): 240-273.

Abstract: The protection of civilians at risk in armed conflict has, since the late 1990s, become institutionalized at the United Nations (UN), gaining acceptance as a normative rationale for UN peacekeeping. However, the bulk of civilians in need of protection in armed conflict are unlikely to attain it. The article develops an argument on ‘particularized protection’—particularized in that UN Security Council (SC) mandates are formulated and adjusted over time to direct mission protection to specific subsets of civilian populations, that is, those relevant to the UN itself, the host state, other states, NGOs and the media, leaving most local civilians receiving little effective protection. Particularized protection, we argue, is a result of the institutional dynamics involving actors producing mandates—the UNSC—and those providing protection—peacekeeping missions—whereby mandates are specified to direct mission protection to selected, particularized groups. We demonstrate these dynamics in two cases, Côte d’Ivoire and Somalia.

Responsibility to Protect and UN Peacekeeping: A Challenge of Particularized Protection,” AP R2P Brief, Vol.6 No.4 (2016): 1-7.

“Interviewing Perpetrators: From Categories to Dilemmas of Civil War Participation,” in Kjell Anderson and Erin Jessee (eds), Approaching Perpetrators, University of Wisconsin Press (in review).

Border Violence in ‘Post-Conflict’ Abkhazia,” Ethnogeopolitics, Vol. 3, No. 3 (2015): 69-92.

Abstract: In the two decades since the end of the 1992-93 Georgian-Abkhaz war, the border area between Georgia and Abkhazia has seen multiple, diverse forms of violence. This area was relatively peaceful before the war and was barely touched during the war. As the war ended, it became the epicenter of organized political violence in Abkhazia. This article seeks to explain why violence has persisted in the Georgian-Abkhaz border area into the post-war period. While major approaches to this problem are developed at the macro, state level, I turn to how events developed among key actors the micro level to explain the observed variation. I locate violent events in the Gali region in the contested zone, predominantly controlled by the Abkhaz, and argue that a complex, embedded social structure of violence based on fear emerged between armed actors on both sides of the border and the local population in Gali. In this structure local residents are subjected to pressure from both sides to collaborate, and as a consequence suffer reprisals. This in turn supports the continuation of violent conflict between Abkhaz and Georgian forces.

Mobilization in Civil War: Latent Norms, Social Relations, and Inter-Group Violence in Abkhazia, doctoral dissertation, 2014.

China as a Global Norm-Shaper: Institutionalization and Implementation of the Responsibility to Protect” (with Brian L. Job), in Alexander Betts and Phil Orchard (eds), Implementation and World Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Demokratischer Frieden nach außen und innen? Der Forschungsstand zum Civil Democratic Peace” (mit Hans-Joachim Spanger), in: Hans-Joachim Spanger (Hg.), Der demokratische Unfrieden, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2012.