Peasant protest in Kyrgyzstan: standing up next to a mountain
Lober, Colin W.
Baylouny, Ann Marie
Clunan, Anne L.
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This thesis seeks to explain peasant protest in Kyrgyzstan in both the Akaev era and the post-Akaev era through an analysis of five case studies spanning both periods. This thesis finds that during the Akaev era, successful mobilization occurred in the rural areas, when protestors were able to project their agendas and anger beyond the local arena. By framing the original issue of grievance as an issue of national concern, and employing aggressive methods of redress, such as road blockades and occupation of public space, Akaev-era protestors met with success on two of three occasions. The post- Akaev era has been marked by a transition to urban-based protests, which has reduced the methods of redress available to protestors and elicited mixed results. Throughout the cases studied, the motivations of the peasant protestors is best explained by a lossaversion theory of human behavior, which stipulates that actors will accept high risks of action when they perceive that they have lost something previously attained. While peasants are traditionally thought of as conservative and risk-averse, the Kyrgyzstani peasantry has displayed a willingness not just to initiate protest, but to sustain protest until such a time as such losses have been regained.
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