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Title: The neoliberalisation of Estonia : agency does matter
Author: Mikecz, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 2263
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2011
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The goal of this research is to prove the significance of active local agency in the spatial diffusion of the neoliberal ideology. By examining Estonia's post-socialist economic transformation I demonstrate the domestic origin of the country's neoliberal economic policies. I contest the hegemonic view of neoliberalisation and argue that neoliberalism has progressive aspects. , / ./ Although post-socialist transition and the impact of neoliberal policies have been studied extensively, there is a gap in literature regarding the motives of local decision makers in policy choices. The main research question is why Estonian policy makers chose the neoliberal trajectory in the country's post-socialist transition. By analysing data obtained from key decision makers and advisors in the form of face-to- face, semi -structured interviews, I argue that Estonian leaders proactively exercised active agency within the confines of structure. Structure in the form of place, the country's precarious geopolitical situation and history has instilled a sense of 'historical injustice' and a self-image in Estonians that emphasises the virtues of self-reliance and individualism, which are compatible with neoliberal values. The country's grave geopolitical and economic situation in the early 1990s required simple policies that can be implemented quickly and neoliberal policies were fit for purpose due to their simplicity. However, although neoliberal policies have outlived their use as the country's geopolitical and economic situation consolidated, Estonian policy makers have been willingly pursuing an ultraliberal trajectory for the past two decades out of ideological conviction and in defiance of the explicit advice of international organisations, such as the IMF and the World Bank, to introduce' more government and less market' . Estonian policy makers are not 'victims' but 'champions' of neoliberal policies. Agency does matter.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available