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Analyzing Post-Soviet Civil Society of Azerbaijan and its Contribution to Democracy

Mustafayev, Aykhan LU (2016) SIMV07 20161
Graduate School
Department of Political Science
Education
Abstract
This master thesis seeks to convey an alternative approach for studying post-soviet civil society, with a particular focus on Azerbaijan. It rejects utilization of mainstream and overused liberal-democratic approach to civil society, which has been a predominant contextual framework for growing body of literature on civil society’s contribution to democracy in the post-communist space. By using Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and civil society concept, this research argues that civil society is not a separate realm from the state, nor does necessarily oppose and limit state power. On the contrary, civil society can be hegemonic by consenting to the political authority of the ruling elite. This standpoint was used to explore the civil society... (More)
This master thesis seeks to convey an alternative approach for studying post-soviet civil society, with a particular focus on Azerbaijan. It rejects utilization of mainstream and overused liberal-democratic approach to civil society, which has been a predominant contextual framework for growing body of literature on civil society’s contribution to democracy in the post-communist space. By using Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and civil society concept, this research argues that civil society is not a separate realm from the state, nor does necessarily oppose and limit state power. On the contrary, civil society can be hegemonic by consenting to the political authority of the ruling elite. This standpoint was used to explore the civil society of independent Azerbaijan, and examine its link with democratization.

Employing qualitative research methods, the thesis reveals that Azerbaijan did a leap forward towards democracy after the termination of the Soviet Union. However, it missed an indispensable window of opportunity; thus, reverted back to hold traits of the semi-authoritarian rule since the second decade of the independence. Performing as a great countervailing force against the Soviet social order, Azerbaijani Popular Front established a counter-hegemonic historic bloc, which cultivated the first institutional base of the civil society. Nonetheless, CSOs, growing in quantity, missed a quality of acting as checks and balances against the state power. The struggle over hegemony between civil society and state ended up with the success of the former. This research highlights that the defeat in this struggle is not purely due to government repressions and legal restrictions, but also because of civil society’s internal weakness. Civil society is internally non-democratic, institutionally and politically weak to influence any decision-making. Moreover, independence of civil society in Azerbaijan is problematic as its actors are either donor-driven or financially dependent. (Less)
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author
Mustafayev, Aykhan LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMV07 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8891594
date added to LUP
2016-09-29 16:24:00
date last changed
2016-09-29 16:24:00
@misc{8891594,
  abstract     = {This master thesis seeks to convey an alternative approach for studying post-soviet civil society, with a particular focus on Azerbaijan. It rejects utilization of mainstream and overused liberal-democratic approach to civil society, which has been a predominant contextual framework for growing body of literature on civil society’s contribution to democracy in the post-communist space. By using Gramsci’s theory of hegemony and civil society concept, this research argues that civil society is not a separate realm from the state, nor does necessarily oppose and limit state power. On the contrary, civil society can be hegemonic by consenting to the political authority of the ruling elite. This standpoint was used to explore the civil society of independent Azerbaijan, and examine its link with democratization.

Employing qualitative research methods, the thesis reveals that Azerbaijan did a leap forward towards democracy after the termination of the Soviet Union. However, it missed an indispensable window of opportunity; thus, reverted back to hold traits of the semi-authoritarian rule since the second decade of the independence. Performing as a great countervailing force against the Soviet social order, Azerbaijani Popular Front established a counter-hegemonic historic bloc, which cultivated the first institutional base of the civil society. Nonetheless, CSOs, growing in quantity, missed a quality of acting as checks and balances against the state power. The struggle over hegemony between civil society and state ended up with the success of the former. This research highlights that the defeat in this struggle is not purely due to government repressions and legal restrictions, but also because of civil society’s internal weakness. Civil society is internally non-democratic, institutionally and politically weak to influence any decision-making. Moreover, independence of civil society in Azerbaijan is problematic as its actors are either donor-driven or financially dependent.},
  author       = {Mustafayev, Aykhan},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Analyzing Post-Soviet Civil Society of Azerbaijan and its Contribution to Democracy},
  year         = {2016},
}