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Institutional Change and Political Continuity in Post-Soviet Central Asia : Power, Perceptions, and Pacts - Pauline Jones Luong

Institutional Change and Political Continuity in Post-Soviet Central Asia

Power, Perceptions, and Pacts

By: Pauline Jones Luong, Peter Lange (Editor), Robert H. Bates (Editor), Ellen Comisso (Editor), Peter Hall (Editor)

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Published: 1st March 2008
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The establishment of electoral systems in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan presents a complex set of empirical puzzles as well as a theoretical challenge. Why did three states with similar cultural, historical, and structural legacies establish such different electoral systems? How did these distinct outcomes result from strikingly similar institutional design processes? Explaining these puzzles requires understanding not only the outcome of institutional design but also the intricacies of the process that led to this outcome. Moreover, the transitional context in which the three states designed new electoral rules necessitates an approach that explicitly links process and outcome in a dynamic setting. This book provides such an approach. It depicts institutional design as a transitional bargaining game in which the dynamic interaction between the structural-historical and immediate-strategic contexts directly shapes actors' perceptions of shifts in their relative power, and hence, their bargaining strategies. Thus, it both builds on the key insights of the dominant approaches to explaining institutional origin and change and transcends these approaches by moving beyond the structure versus agency debate.

From the hardback review - Advanced praise: 'This is one of the best works of social science available on an important but dimly understood region. Luong's intensive field research and keen grasp of politics have paid off in what will become a standard work on postcommunist politics.' Steven Fish, University of California, Berkeley From the hardback review: 'This book tackles head on some of the most important questions in contemporary democratization studies. In particular, why do states that start out with similar levels of political and cultural development end up with such diverse outcomes? Based on an impressive detailed knowledge of the Central Asian states and a sophisticated application of existing theories of institutional design, in her analysis of patterns of continuity and change Luong transcends these approaches by stressing the complex dynamics of the transitional process itself. This is an original ground-breaking study that makes an important contribution to comparative politics and area studies alike. The book represents an important advance in studies of the postcommunist transitions.' Richard Sakwa, University of Kent, Canterbury From the hardback review: 'Pauline Jones Luong illuminates the politics behind the genuinely puzzling divergence of three strategically important political regimes in Central Asia. Along the way, she combines the advantages of historical institutionalism and rational choice theory, using each to redress the shortcomings of the other. This is an innovative work that deserves to be emulated.' Michael Coppedge, University of Notre Dame From the hardback review: 'It was a great historical irony that Marxism succeeded first in Russia, Europe's backwater. It is perhaps a greater irony that the richest Soviet legacy was bequeathed to Central Asia, the region most often accused of anti-Soviet cryptonationalism. Pauline Jones Luong, basing her compelling narrative on meticulous field research, shows why Soviet-crated regional power structures prevailed in three Central Asian republics, and how, in the post-Soviet transition, Islamic fundamentalism and democratic liberalism were forestalled. This book merits the attention not only of Central Asianists, but all who are seeking a theoretical understanding of political transitions.' David D. Laitin, Stanford University From the hardback review: 'This book will hopefully be the first of many applying the tools of comparative politics to Central Asia, thereby furthering our understanding of the region. Its combination of theory and quality of research will ensure that this book is warmly welcomed by both Central Asia specialists and transitologists alike.' Slavonic & East European Review

The continuity of change: old formulas and new institutions
Explaining institutional design in transitional states: beyond structure versus agency
Sources of continuity: the Soviet legacy in Central Asia
Sources of change: the transitional context in Central Asia
The electoral system in Kyrgyzstan: rise of the regions
The electoral system in Uzbekistan: revenge of the center
The electoral system in Kazakhstan: the center's rise and the regions' revenge
Institutional change through continuity: shifting power and prospects for democracy
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521801096
ISBN-10: 0521801095
Series: Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 344
Published: 1st March 2008
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.68