What Can The Local Tell Us About Globalization? Land, Petroleum, And Moral Transformation In Post-Soviet Azerbaijan

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This dissertation asks how rural populations accepted and adjusted to Azerbaijan's neoliberal restructuring under IMF guidance from a mainly agricultural Soviet economy to an urban-based petroleum exporter of the world. The answers draw a history of changing land-use patterns, livelihood strategies, and mind-sets in rural Azerbaijan, illuminating ideological aspects of what Michael Woods called "rural globalization"-of how rural places are remade with globalization. This work will show how breaking the rural resistance to the IMF-designed restructuring of post-Soviet Azerbaijan has depended on igniting hopes in the bounties of the market system, the individualization and disintegration of rural communities through land reforms, and rural migration. The spread of hopes in the market system as the just distributor of resources and as a road to prosperity through organized government efforts was a crucial first step and involved a redefinition of prosperity from long-term communal goal to immediate personal goal. Land reforms, held in hopes of self-sufficient prosperity, individualized and disintegrated rural communities, diminishing their ability to stand up against the land manipulations and enclosures that followed. Finally, rural migration was instrumental to the transformation of rural Azerbaijan, not just in easing social tensions but as a key channel through which the ideas and values of the market, specifically seeking individual material interests, travelled to the countryside and began to be accepted as normal. Rural areas' acceptance of the neoliberal development of post-Soviet Azerbaijan rested on a profound and massive moral transformation, which furthered a specific model of individual-community relationship, and thus helped marketization succeed. Globalization has often been presented as a transnationally orchestrated process against which locales have been helpless. Yet, as this dissertation reminds, the expansion and deepening of the global market crucially rests on building wider consent to market values as legitimate guiding principles of life.

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rural globalization; moral transformation; post-Soviet transition


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Union Local


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Pfeffer, Max John

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Bunce, Valerie Jane
Makki, Fouad M
Lacher, Hannes

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Development Sociology

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Ph. D., Development Sociology

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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