Book Launch: Incomplete State-Building in Central Asia: the State as Social Practice (in English)

25 November, 2022


Date: November 25, 2022 15:00 – 17:00
Venue: OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Conference Hall on the 3rd floor and Zoom
Language: English
Organizers: OSCE Academy, Kyrgyzstan

This book is about transformation of the state and an incomplete state-building. It defies the transitology assumption of continuity, linearity and dichotomy of formal and informal in the transformation of the state. Contrary to the conventional approaches, it claims that any social order or its political scaffolding, the state, is always incomplete and we need to develop cognitive maps to better understand that incompleteness. It reflects on the social practices, processes and patterns that evolve as a non-linear result of three sets of factors: those that are historical, external, and elite-driven. Three Central Asian states - Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan - are examined here comparatively as case studies, as Central Asia represents an interesting terrain to challenge conventional understanding of the state. Specifically, the book captures a paradox at hand: how come three states, which made different political, economic, cultural, and social choices at the outset of their independence in the 1990s, have ended up as so-called “weak states” in the 2000s and onwards? This puzzle can be better understood through looking at the relationship among three main sets of factors that shape state-building processes, such as history, external actors, and local elites. This book applies an interdisciplinary approach, combining political anthropology, political economy, sociology, and political science. It helps conceptualize and understand social and political order beyond the “failed state” paradigm.

15:00 - 15:30 Book presentation - Incomplete State-Building in Central Asia: the State as Social Practice by Viktoria Akchurina
15:30 - 15:50 Discussant’s comments by Aijan Sharshenova, Asel Tutumlu-Rustemova, Filippo Costa Buranelli, and Azamat Temirkulov
15:50 - 16:30  Q&A Session
16:30 - 17:00  Coffee-break

Speakers and organizers

Dr. Viktoria Akchurina is a Lecturer at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. Her research focuses on state-building in Central Asia and the Middle East, comparatively. She is an author of a number of academic publications on elite formation (Routledge 2021), power and hegemony (Routledge 2020), the incomplete state (Palgrave Macmillan 2018), security and radicalization (Routledge 2015), border and water management in central Eurasia (Lexington 2018). She co-edited a Special Section on ‘Power and Competing Regionalism in a Wider Europe’ in the Journal of Europe-Asia Studies (2018). In her previous capacity as a Researcher at TRENDS Consulting in Abu-Dhabi, she published a number of policy papers on the Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East and conducted research on Russian foreign policy in Syria, among other projects. Previously, Viktoria worked for EXOP-Consulting in Germany, International Women’s Media Foundation in Washington D.C., and taught at the MA program in Peace and Development at Dauphine University in Paris. Viktoria received her PhD in International Relations from the University of Trento (Italy) and her MA in Social Theory and Global Governance from Jacobs University Bremen (Germany). She is fluent in English, German, French, Russian, and Italian.

OSCE Academy in Bishkek is a public foundation, established in 2002 between the Kyrgyz Government and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Academy promotes the principles and values of the OSCE through post-graduate education, professional training and intellectual exchange. Moreover, the Academy hosts Research Fellowships, as well as publishes articles, policy briefs, and research papers on questions relevant to the Academy’s mission.

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