SOAS University of London

School of Law

Law, Institutions and Political Economy of Transition

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/18
Unit value:

This module, will examine the role and functions of law as theorised, as prescribed, and as evident in the transition from the command to the market economy in post-Soviet Central Asia, and from Soviet to post-Soviet structures of rule. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan [and the three Trans-Caucasian states] will serve as the focus of study, in the light of extensive comparative material from relevant jurisdictions (other CIS, Central Europe). 

The processes of legal and institutional change in the region will be analysed and evaluated against the political economy of the emerging post-Soviet order, with consideration of the interests and influence of political elites, legal professionals, entrepreneurs, mafias, foreign investors, bilateral and multilateral donors, and others. The transition literature in various fields of social science, as it bears on legal processes and Central Asia, will be addressed from a critical-legal standpoint. Organising themes of the module will include the socio-cultural ground of law, the distributional consequences of post-communist legal regimes, the ambiguities of reform agendas, and the dynamics of exogenous and endogenous impulses for change.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

To master a set of analytic and conceptual tools for analysing the relationship between legal change and social, political, and economic change.

Method of assessment

Assessment weighting: 60% unseen examination and 40% coursework (one essay of 6,000 words)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules