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Security, Democracy and Development

In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region

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Edited By Ghia Nodia and Christoph H. Stefes

Since the early 1990s, the southern Caucasus and its larger neighbourhood, the Black Sea region, have experienced deep and sometimes painful transformations, including bloody conflicts. They have also become an arena of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition between great powers. This has attracted growing attention from social scientists. In this volume, authors from universities in Europe, the United States and the southern Caucasus focus on several of the most topical problems of the region, particularly how nascent states and societies grapple with the results of unresolved ethno-territorial conflicts and how they try to construct new civil societies from the cultural mosaic that they inherited from their Soviet past. How do elements of democracy and autocracy combine in the political regimes of the new states? Can the West have an effect on their internal development and, if so, how? How do the rich mineral resources of the Caspian region influence the development of the region’s economies and define the geopolitical standing of these countries?
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Concluding Thoughts

References

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The last pages of this volume are Janus-faced. On one hand, they will situate the contributions of this volume in the broader research agenda on the South Caucasus of recent years. On the other hand, we look ahead and highlight research lacunae and fruitful venues for further social science work on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Although the entire region does not comprise more than fifteen million people, it provides social scientists with a fascinating laboratory of societies that have laboured for almost 25 years with the quadruple challenge of building new political systems and economies as well as states and nations (Kuzio, 2001).

A review of articles published in three popular area studies journals (Europe-Asia Studies, Post-Soviet Affairs, and Communist and Post-Communist Studies) between 2004 and 2014 reveals that the South Caucasus has enjoyed considerable scholarly attention. Roughly 40 articles have been published that focus on one or more countries of the region. That is almost one-fifth of all articles published in these three journals since 2004. This overrepresentation of the region, given its size, is good news. On the downside, the research agenda is narrow, focused on Georgia, and very much influenced by current events. Of the 40 articles, more than 10 articles focus exclusively on Georgia and in the vast majority of articles with multiple case studies, Georgia figures prominently. The same level of attention is not given to Armenia, not to mention Azerbaijan, which is analysed in just six articles (single-case and multiple-case...

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