Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Political Science, Comparitive Politics

Date of Defense

7-18-2014

Graduate Advisor

David Brian Robertson

Committee

Jean-Germain Gros

Kenneth Thomas

Eduardo Silva

Gerard Libaridian

Abstract

In the literature focusing on various aspects of the twin transitions from socialism, development and social well-being are mainly analyzed with respect to privatization process (Stark and Bruszt 1998, Applegate 1994); economic growth and institutional design (North 1990; Elster, Offe, and Preuss 1998; Kolodko 1999; Norgaard 2000); party and election politics, the development of social networks and deliberative associations (Stark and Bruszt 1998); and the bargaining power of labor (Bandelj and Mahutga 2005). While the importance of these factors is not underestimated, this study addresses a significantly understudied theme – social exclusion as a consequence of overweening state power. The problem of social exclusion cuts to the core of the distribution of power in society; and in most of the post-Soviet societies, there has occurred predominantly negative change in societal power after 1990s, with vast power concentrated in the hands of governing elites. In the case of Armenia, the problem is specifically striking. This dissertation centers around durable social exclusion in post-Soviet Armenia generated as a consequence of the twin transition and explores the conditions that explain the high degree of social exclusion in contemporary Armenian society. It aims to answer the following research question: what factors contributed to the development of durable social exclusion in post-Soviet Armenia from 1988-2008? As an exploratory case study based on the examination of recent socio-economic and, more notably, political developments of post-Soviet Armenian state, this dissertation generates new hypotheses to study social exclusion. Appending to the mainstream literature that focuses on primarily the socio-economic drivers of social exclusion, I emphasize that not only consequences of economic reform affect the level of social exclusion, but also, and more significantly, the historic trajectory of the society. I argue that privatization was an important but not a sufficient factor in the emergence of social exclusion in post-Soviet Armenia. State militarization through war was another necessary and largely overlooked condition for the persistence of social exclusion in Armenia. The assessment of these hypotheses provides evidence that allows a test of whether privatization and militarization are plausible factors for the persistence of social exclusion in other developing countries.

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