Eloi Laurent

The "Swedish method" refers to the Swedes' collective capacity to adapt to the successive economic and social challenges they face in today's world. The present study attempts to raise and shed light on two issues: the inner workings of the "Swedish method"; its sustainability in the current phase of globalization. More specifically, we try to determine whether confidence and social cohesion, at the heart of Sweden's success, may be affected by the changes in public policy induced by a strategy of openness and adaptation that Sweden has considerably encouraged in recent years. We begin by surveying the literature on the relationship between confidence, social cohesion and economic performance to measure the respective importance of the factors of social cohesion. We then show how these components have been crystallized into institutions according to three socioeconomic rationales, the social democratic rationale at the heart of the Swedish system differing from the rationale of social segmentation. The study then takes a fresh look at Sweden's economic and social performance today and describes in detail the contemporary Swedish growth strategy, typical of a "small" country. We then describe the evolution of macroeconomic, fiscal, immigration and education policies and point out a weakening of collective protection schemes and the alteration of certain crucial public policies, an evolution that in the long run could call into question the Swedish governance strategy by eroding social cohesion.

Sébastien Peyrouse

Since the early 2000s, The People’s Republic of China has invited itself to the “Great Central Asian Game” that traditionally counterpoised Russian and US interests. Today, Central Asia’s future lies mainly in its capacity to avoid neighbouring Middle Eastern destabilisations and integrate the Asia-Pacific Zone through China’s influence. In less than two decades, China has managed to enter significantly and in a variety of forms in the Central Asian region. The country has imposed itself as a faithful partner in terms of bilateral diplomacy and transformed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation into a regional structure much appreciated by its members. China has moved to the fore as an economic player in Central Asia in the trade sector, hydrocarbons, and infrastructures. Nevertheless, social fears have grown linked to this ever growing Chinese presence, and a number of Central Asian experts specialising in China do not hide their political, economic and cultural apprehensions when it comes to dealing with a neighbour whose power will be difficult to manage in the long run.

Ioulia Shukan

Since the Orange Revolution in autumn 2004 which brought the formal political opposition to power behind the candidacy of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine has been undergoing another transition phase. Change is certainly perceptible on several levels, but the economic and political legacy left by the authoritarian regime of Leonid Kuchma continues to weigh on politics in the country. By adopting a combined approach involving a sociology of the actors and an institutional analysis we assess these changes with respect two key issues: the delinking of political power and economic interests and the constitutional reform. The attitude of the Orange governing team with regard to oligarchic power has changed considerably, moving from the threat of expropriation by re-privatization to the acknowledgment of their importance in the national economy. In reviewing the terms of the constitutional reform, it becomes clear that although such reform was made possible by an unprecedented sharing of political power at the highest state level, between a President and a Prime Minister of opposite political bents, it has nevertheless encountered considerable obstacles to its implementation, due to conflicting interpretations and disagreement between the heads of state and government as to the redefinition of their respective roles. These transformations result in a recurrent modification of the rules of the political game and are likely to jeopardize the progress made on the path to democratization.

Social cohesion stands out as a major element of the “Norwegian model”. Norway can even be seen as a sort of laboratory where one can measure both the positive and the negative effects of such a priority and examine its components. The Norwegian social-democratic model – i.e. economical and social policies aiming at reinforcing social cohesion – is largely a product of the remarkable ethnic and cultural homogeneity that has historically characterized Norway. Though this political strategy has generated considerable achievements, it would appear to be in jeopardy today. This study will examine three main questions: considering international movements of people, is it possible to maintain ethnic and cultural homogeneity in a country with an open market? As Norway faces growing international competition, is there not a risk that the adverse effects of social homogeneity will supersede its advantages? Lastly, will oil revenues be enough to finance the continuation of this Norwegian model despite perturbations associated with globalization?