The Context of the Tourism Market in Kazakhstan: State, Firms, Old and New Practices

The Context of the Tourism Market in Kazakhstan: State, Firms, Old and New Practices

Onur Dirlik (Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Turkey), Janset Özen-Aytemur (Akdeniz University, Turkey) and Murat Atalay (Akdeniz University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2239-4.ch007


This chapter is designed to reveal the development of the tourism sector in Kazakhstan as an example of the process of integrating Central Asia countries into the capitalist world economy at various levels in the post-Soviet period. The study aims to understand the effects of some contextual elements that affect the development process of the tourism sector in Kazakhstan. For this purpose, interviews were conducted with the managers of foreign tour operators operating in Kazakhstan. It is expected some context-based elements may be observed by the managers and to obtain some clues about the distinctive path of developing capitalist economy of the country. Following a brief literature review about the role of the state and tourism sector in Kazakhstan, the rest of the chapter includes the authors' findings on the characteristics of the institutional context of the tourism market in Kazakhstan.
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In social sciences, interest in market economies, more specifically in capitalism, goes back to the 1800s. The current position of interested parties in market economies is the result of a series of developments from the late 1800s to the present. Since the great Methodenstreit in Germany in the late nineteenth century (Louzek, 2011) the studies of capitalism have been divided into two groups. The first group assumes that capitalism is shaped by the eternal market forces and that the regulations and social arrangements shape the market with their invisible jobs. This group seeks to identify universal structures and argues that these structures have normative effects. The second group adopts the political economy perspective and assumes that capitalism is formed by divergent historical forms. In order to understand the characteristics of a market, this group pursues the historical patterns of institutions, the history of political economy and the historical patterns of contexts. In order to understand market relations, they refer to the critical transition periods and relations between the past and existing institutions.

In this perspective, economic processes are embedded in institutions that form, transform, and substantiate the economic process and its inherent contradictions (Kristensen & Lilja, 2011). Although capitalism has diffused in recent years with increasing acceleration along with globalization, studies show that the diffusion in question triggers the emergence of different market forms contrary to expectations (Hall & Soskice, 2001). Therefore, it is possible to say that the opinions regarding the existence of uniform markets, which were emphasized in previous discussions in the literature, have weakened. This study has been designed with the framework of the institutionalism tradition of the second group, in terms of the distinction mentioned briefly in the above lines, in investigating the markets. Different conceptual frameworks, models and approaches have been developed in the studies on the relationship of organizations with their institutional environment. According to the authors, in order to understand economic organizations with a macro-level analysis, it is necessary to analyze them on the basis of their relations with the ‘market’. It is because understanding the capitalist dynamics in a context is one of the best ways to understand how organizations are influenced by the market and to understand how organizations shape their environment by accepting its power as an institutional actor. This approach provides an opportunity to understand market relations in an institutional environment based framework.

The literature on the different institutional contexts of various economies in different countries raises two approaches -Varieties of Capitalism (Hall & Soskice, 2001) and National Business Systems (Whitley, 1999). The Varieties of Capitalism approach classifies the advanced economies into two as liberal and coordinated markets. Allocation mechanisms of resources, profits and risk are the basic criteria for that classification. As the last phase of the literature of “varieties of capitalism”, the studies focus on ‘the initiatives of actors to reshape their firms and institutions’; ‘the internationalization of economic activity and the variety of ways in which this is achieved’; and ‘how different forms of state establish conditions for institutional change and experimentation’ (Kristensen & Morgan, 2012: 37).

On the other hand, the National Business Systems approach focuses on “distinctive ways of structuring economic activities with different kinds of actors following contrasting priorities and logics” (Whitley, 1998a: 449) and deeply interested in the institutions which are intrinsic to the state, financial markets, social capital, and human capital. Although both approaches are functional in explaining the nature of various mechanisms that formalize the economic actors and activities in different countries, they are not completely suited for describing the institutional structures of newly-developed, emerging or developing economies (Fainshmidt et al., 2018). The Varieties of Capitalism framework has been criticized for not to being interested in the institutional context of the developing world, which the relationship between the state and economic actors and all the social norms are embedded in (Wilkinson, Wood & Deeg, 2014).

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