Aris, Stephen (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Restricted to Repository staff only until 01 January 2050.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is emerging as a significant security organisation in Central Asia, but remains understudies in academia. This thesis analyses SCO using primary research interviews across its member-states, and by drawing on theoretical literatures developed for security and regionalism in the developing world. The role of SCO as a security provider and the nature of cooperation within its framework are examined, challenging existing assumptions. It is argued that the SCO is not an "empty vessel" aimed at countering Western influence, but a framework for cooperation on the primary interest of its member-states,regime security. To this end, it is focussed on addressing non-traditional security challenges within Central Asia, and has developed an institutional framework that takes into account the reservations of its member-states' elites about ceding national sovereignty. The thesis concludes that this approach has enabled SCO to become an important element in its member-states' regional policy. In addition, mainstream literatures on regional institutions are critiqued, in particular the impliciit assumption that cooperation between states that are not pluralistic liberal-democracies is inherently limited. To the contrary, in regions of weak states, regime security provides the basis for a different form of cooperation that should not be dismissed.
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