Seminars & Lectures
It may appear as though the subject of gender and gender norms is a fairly recent socio-political phenomenon – particularly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia – but it does, in fact, have a longer history than might initially be thought, even in the former Soviet Union; its effects can still be felt and observed today. Dr. Ekaterina Zhuravskaya of the Paris School of Economics visited ISET on May 27 to discuss the topic. ‘Diffusion of Gender Norms: Evidence from Stalin’s Ethnic Deportations’ delved into the effects of mass Soviet deportations of populations from their homes in the western parts of the Soviet Union to far-flung areas of Central Asia and Siberia. In excess of two million people were evicted from their homes and relocated, a horrifying process which nevertheless altered the perceptions of gender norms in the new places they were forced to call home.
It is always gratifying when an alumnus returns to ISET; it is naturally satisfying and pleasing for staff and faculty to hear about the successful exploits of a former student, but perhaps more importantly it is inspiring for the next generations to see first-hand what might be achieved with the right amount of hard work and dedication. Likewise, it may also be said that it benefits the graduate to return to their origins. To this end, Robizon Khubulashvili, a current PhD student of Pennsylvania State University, came back to ISET on May 17 to give a seminar on his ongoing research project, entitled ‘Reputation Effects on Free Riding: Theory and Experiment’.
Although Georgia has made significant strides on its developmental path over the last decade, and its ambitions to fully join Western bodies such as NATO and the European Union no longer seem a far-fetched dream, there are sectors of society which have not benefited from the full attention and aid given to other areas. The life of disabled people anywhere is, of course, unimaginably hard, but in Georgia matters are even more complicated. The country’s economy has barely been strong enough to support its able-bodied population, let alone those with special needs. After Georgia signed the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2014, progress has been made, and the situation is not as dire as it once was; disabled access to buildings and public spaces is becoming increasingly common, but significant challenges remain.
On Wednesday March 27, ISET hosted Dr. Anto Aasa, a Research Fellow in Human Geography from the University of Tartu, who delivered a seminar to ISET’s BA and MA students entitled ‘Use of mobile positioning data in mobility studies’. During the seminar, Dr. Aasa introduced a research project conducted by the Research Group in Mobility Studies at Tartu University. They used Information & Communication Technology (ICT)-based services to analyze different societal processes. Among other ICT-based datasets, the CDR (Call Detail Record) data consists of log-files collected by mobile network operators to monitor and keep track of billable calling services used by their clients. The dataset contains information about the phone call initiator (the unique and anonymous ID), time of calling activities, as well as the location of the mobile antenna where the call activity was made. This kind of data shows the respondent’s social background (gender, age and language) and other secondary characteristics, such as anchors (ie home/work environments) and transport demand. This is widely used in tourism statistics in local, inbound, outbound levels.
On March 26, ISET hosted Dr. Lotta Björklund Larsen of Stockholm University, Sweden, who presented a paper entitled ‘Tax Compliance. A Review of Recent Studies’. “How are people made to pay tax, at the right time and the right amount?” Dr. Björklund Larsen began. “How are they made to comply? This is an eternal research question for tax collectors, law and policy makers, politicians, as well tax scholars. It is also a question that cannot be answered from the perspective of one scientific angle. In this presentation I reviewed research about tax compliance drawing on recent studies from economics, political science and anthropology. I argued that in order to understand why we pay tax—that is, why we comply with taxes and taxation—as well as why we avoid doing so, we have to look beyond legal changes, psychological experiments, economic results, the organization of revenue collection and all actors’ practices in society’s tax arena and study the type of relations, and expectations, that taxpaying is seen to create in society.