The establishment of electoral systems in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan presents both a complex set of empirical puzzles and 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 these 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. Finally, 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.
• Provides a new approach to explaining institutional origin and change • Provides new insight into why regime change does and does not occur in patrimonial and one-party states • Contains an enormous amount of original data on an understudied region of the world
1. The continuity of change: old formulas and new institutions; 2. Explaining institutional design in transitional states: beyond structure versus agency; 3. Sources of continuity: the Soviet legacy in Central Asia; 4. Sources of change: the transitional context in Central Asia; 5. The electoral system in Kyrgyzstan: rise of the regions; 6. The electoral system in Uzbekistan: revenge of the center; 7. The electoral system in Kazakhstan: the center's rise and the regions' revenge; 8. Institutional change through continuity: shifting power and prospects for democracy.
Review of the hardback: '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
Review of the hardback: '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
Review of the hardback: '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
Review of the hardback: '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
Review of the hardback: '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