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Weaving webs of insecurity: fear, weakness and power in the post-Soviet South Caucasus

Oskanian, Kevork (2010) Weaving webs of insecurity: fear, weakness and power in the post-Soviet South Caucasus. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis' central aim is the application of a Wendtian-constructivist expansion of Regional Security Complex Theory (RSCT) on a specific case study: the South Caucasus. To that effect, three concepts of RSCT – amity/enmity, state incoherence, and great power penetration – are expanded and developed within the broader above-mentioned ontological-epistemological framework. Amity-enmity is elaborated into an integrated spectrum founded on varying ideational patterns of securitisation alongside objective characteristics, and encompassing conflict formations, security regimes and security communities. States are conceptualised as ideational-institutional-material "providers of security"; their incoherence is characterised over three tiers and two dimensions, leading to a distinction between vertical and horizontal inherent weakness, ostensible instability and failure. Great power penetration is dissected into its objective, subjective and intersubjective elements, resulting in a 1+3+1 typology of its recurring patterns: unipolar, multipolar-cooperative and multipolar-competitive, bounded by hegemony and disengagement. After the specification of a methodology incorporating both objective macro- and interpretive micro-perspectives, two working hypotheses are specified. Firstly, that state incoherence engenders high levels of regional enmity, and, secondly, that patterns of great power penetration primarily affect transitions of regional amity/enmity between conflict formations and security regimes. The framework is subsequently used to triangulate these hypotheses through an application of the theoretical framework on the post-Soviet Southern Caucasus. An initial macro-overview is subsequently provided of the Southern Caucasus as a regional security complex; the three expanded concepts are consequently investigated, in turn, from the discursive micro-perspective. The South Caucasus is categorised into a "revisionist conflict formation", the nature of its states' incoherence is characterised, and existing patterns of great power penetration are identified as competitive-multipolar. In the final chapter, the hypotheses are largely confirmed, and various scenarios as to the possible emergence of a regional security regime are investigated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2010 Kevork Oskanian
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Allison, Roy and Buzan, Barry

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