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Discursive closure: political parties and the (ir)relevance of ideology in Azerbaijan

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Why does ideology often fail to take hold in post-Soviet party politics where parties tend to be personalistic, patronage-based and clientelistic rather than programmatic? Moving beyond conventional theories of social cleavage and patrimonial legacies, this paper offers an alternative explanation focusing on the structure of a country’s discursive space. Analysis of Azerbaijani political party manifestos shows that all political players–the ruling and pro-government parties and the opposition groups alike–actively prevent the emergence of ideological competition and debate. All parties are wedded to the same underlying ideology of nationalism and a shallow or nominal commitment to democracy. This situation perpetuates the status quo and breeds political apathy among younger people.




Guliyev, F. (2019). Discursive closure: political parties and the (ir)relevance of ideology in Azerbaijan. Journal of Southeast European and Black Sea, 19(2), 243–268.

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