Management of Disorder

Political disorder and order involve the management of crises through institutions. Formal and informal political institutions play an important role in explaining the stability and instability of authoritarian and populist governments. As a research group we are interested in the ways in which institutions are used in both democracies and autocracies to respond to and manage the unintended consequences of crises. Some of our research to date has focused on the role of formal institutions in explaining autocratisation and authoritarian regime durability and also responses to ecological crisis.

The Role of Party Interest Articulation in the Personalist-Authoritarian Regimes of the Central Asian Republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan

What role do political parties play in Central Asian authoritarianism? Typically understood as being irrelevant, this article argues to the contrary that parties play an important role in the mosaic of authoritarian rule via the articulation of private interests. Examining Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan this study identifies two models of party interest articulation: a leveraging model where a party is utilized to protect the financial and political interests of elites; and a coordinating model where a party serves to integrate presidential assets. Neither model is uniform and party dynamics are dependent upon the specific nature of each personalist regime.

Ostrom, Floods and Mismatched Property Rights

International Journal of the Commons

Nick Cowen

How societies can cope with flood risk along coasts and riverbanks is a critical theoretical and empirical problem – particularly in the wake of anthropogenic climate change and the increased severity of floods. An example of this challenge is the growing costs of publicly-funded flood defense in Britain and popular outcries during the regular occasions that the British government fails to protect property and land during heavy rains. Traditional approaches to institutional analysis suggest that flood management is either a public good that only the government is competent to provide or a private good to which individual landowners are ultimately responsible for supplying. We argue that an important cause of failure in flood management is mismatched property rights. This is where the scale of natural events and resources fail to align with the scale of human activities, responsibility and ownership. Moreover, the spatial dimensions of floods mean that their management is often appropriately conceptualized as a common pool resource problem. As a result, commons institutions as conceptualized and observed by Elinor Ostrom are likely to be major contributors to effective flood management. What governance process should decide the size and scope of these institutions? We argue that bottom-up responses to problems of mismatched property rights are facilitated within larger societies that are characterized by market processes. Moreover, the wider presence of price signals delivers to local communities essential knowledge about the cost of maintaining private property and the relative scarcity of the communal goods. We discuss how our theoretical positions align with experience in Britain and what the implications of our theoretical approach are for facilitating the development of better institutions.

Building an authoritarian regime: Strategies for autocratisation and resistance in Belarus and Slovakia

Aris Trantidis

The article explores the conditions under which incumbent leaders in initially competitive political systems manage to offset democratic resistance and establish an authoritarian regime. Autocratisation – the transition from a competitive political system to a regime dominated by a single political force – is a challenging effort for an incumbent and involves interventions in three ‘arenas’ to achieve (a) public legitimation, (b) institutional reforms increasing political repression and (c) mass-scale co-optation. Focusing on Slovakia and Belarus in the 1990s, where autocratisation efforts failed and succeeded respectively, the article finds that co-optation plays a catalytic role in helping the incumbent pass institutional reforms and escalate repression without risking de-legitimation. In Belarus, co-optation engulfed society and the economy whereas, in Slovakia, a socioeconomic environment with greater autonomy from government limited the scope for co-optation. The Slovak opposition was able to find the resources and supporters necessary to fight back against the incumbent.

Rights of Migrant Workers: An Analysis of Migration Policies in Contemporary Turkey.

This insightful book discusses how policymakers define migrant workers’ status and rights at international and national levels. Assessing the evolution of the language of rights for migrant workers in international law; definition of migrant workers in Turkish legislation; key political and economic factors on Turkish migration policies; protection mechanisms that safeguard migrant workers’ rights, it critically examines the policymaking processes at international, regional and national levels and evaluates the impact of the ‘values’ such as universal or ethnocentric values, on the definitions of status and rights of migrant workers.

The chapters evaluate the status and rights of migrant workers through the lens of cosmopolitan moral constructivism and examine the law making procedures and illustrate the dynamism of these processes with the inclusion of various conditions and actors. The book dissects the key universal and national values that impact on rights of migrant workers. This timely book challenges the rising right-wing ethnocentric policy approaches to (labour) migration to migrant workers’ rights, and problematises the existing legal definitions within migration policies that place the rights of migrant workers into a precarious policy sphere.

By entering the controversial political debate for labour migration and the policy making realm, this book is ideal for scholars and researchers of political science, international relations and social policy, particularly those focusing on international (labour) migration and migration policies. It will further benefit the policymakers and practitioners working on migration, such as UN agencies, NGOs, civil societies and local authorities.

Sonmez Efe S. (2021) Rights of Migrant Workers: an analysis of migration policies in contemporary Turkey. U.K., Transnational Press London.

Legal Status and Economic Membership of Seasonal Migrant Workers in Turkey

International labour migration is one of the most debated topics at international and state levels. State policies usually focus on regular migrant workers under states’ jurisdiction, which often overlook seasonal migrant workers who are arguably one of the most neglected groups because of their temporary and complex status. This paper takes a cosmopolitan moral approach in this study and argues that seasonal migrant workers constitute a part of the host countries’ labour force contributing massively to states’ economy. Therefore, states ought to recognise these migrants by giving them a clear legal status, which bestows them economic membership with some rights. Thus, this paper analyses the membership status of seasonal migrant workers in Turkey at policy level through problematising the legal status of seasonal migrant workers within Turkish legislation. It also rovides insights from the European Union (EU) policies on third country national seasonal migrant workers. For the analysis, the paper uses primary data from interviews and ethnographic observation collected in Turkey; and secondary data derived from legislations, official reports and literature.

Sonmez Efe, S. (2017) ‘Legal Status and Economic Membership of Seasonal Migrant Workers in Turkey’. Journal of the Migration Studies, Vol 3:2, pp. 66-99.

Political Opposition in Kazakhstan: Exit, Voice and Loyalty in Kazakhstan

How might political opposition shape regime outcomes over time in an authoritarian system? Most studies on political opposition in authoritarian contexts tend to focus on the agency of the regime over and above that of the political opposition. Using Albert Hirschman’s framework of exit, voice and loyalty, this book examines the case of Kazakhstani opposition agency over 30 years to explore the extent to which political opposition in Kazakhstan has shaped the dynamics of authoritarian regime development in the country. What the analysis reveals is that in Kazakhstan the regime has tended to treat formal institutional political opposition as neither a credible nor non-credible threat. Consequently, the Kazakhstani regime has always responded to opposition exit and voice with sanctions and institutional adaption which strengthened the regime in the short to medium term, but left them exposed to spontaneous, grassroots non-institutional opposition in the longer term. This spontaneous grassroots opposition emerged in Kazakhstan as a series of ‘shocks’ crystalised in the 2011 events in Zhanaozen, the 2016 land protests, the 2019 election protests and the events of ‘qandy qantar’ (bloody January) in 2022. What this book illustrates is how authoritarian regimes which treat opposition threats ambiguously are likely to end up in a continuous state of instability because the feedback provided by opposition agency disappears leaving the regime susceptible to spontaneous opposition.