Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Sarah Dorr

The Reception of the Arab Spring in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan: A Study of Political Change

Photo of Sarah Dorr

What impact has the “Arab Spring” had upon authoritarian Central Asian regimes? Scholars and journalists have raised the possibility of a “Central Asian Spring” --uprisings across the region ousting the incumbent authoritarian regimes. However, such accounts have focused narrowly on the possibility of an outright revolution and overlooked the other ways in which the Arab Spring has reshaped the region. Questions remain regarding how the Arab Spring has been perceived by local actors.  For example, do uprisings elsewhere affect authoritarian regimes even when those regimes do not experience similar large-scale demonstrations? What mechanism can account for these effects? What are the implications of the Arab Spring uprisings for stable authoritarian regimes both regionally and elsewhere? To address these questions, my research charts the Uzbek and Kazakh governments’ discourse and policy from 2005 – 2015, paying particular attention to elite-level demonstration effects. The demonstration effect is often used to explain popular level mobilization, but is less commonly applied to the elite level where regimes may be influenced by events elsewhere. My research investigates whether uprisings elsewhere, including those outside of the region, affect local actors through an elite level demonstration effect even in the absence of widespread unrest at home.

My research has been awarded the Leeds POLIS International Postgraduate Research Scholarship


MSc Russian and East European Studies (University of Birmingham)

MA Erasmus Mundus European Literary Cultures (University of Bologna and Aristotle University)

BA English and Classical Studies (University of St Andrews)

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