Understanding Civil War: A Comparison of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan


EUROPE-ASIA STUDIES, vol.63, no.2, pp.263-290, 2011 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 63 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09668136.2011.547698
  • Title of Journal : EUROPE-ASIA STUDIES
  • Page Numbers: pp.263-290


In order to explain why civil war erupted in Tajikistan but not in Uzbekistan this article assesses a range of theories that have sought to explain the occurrence of civil wars. After assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a number of these different existing approaches in the comparative literature, it argues that the eruption of civil war in Tajikistan and its absence in Uzbekistan can be explained by adapting ideas from bargaining theories of war that have been developed in the literature on international relations. It argues that it is important to study the adversaries' perceptions of power in relation to the actions that led to the civil war and how the perceptions of the distribution of power are influenced by structural, process and network-related variables. Consistent with bargaining theories of war, a disparity between the distribution of power and distribution of benefits seems an important factor in the eruption of civil war in Tajikistan.