This book is a study of the role of clan networks in Central Asia from the early twentieth century through 2004. Exploring the social, economic, and historical roots of clans, and their political role and political transformation in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, it argues that clans are informal political actors that are critical to understanding politics in this region. The book demonstrates that the Soviet system was far less successful in transforming and controlling Central Asian society, and in its policy of eradicating clan identities, than has often been assumed. In order to understand Central Asian politics and their economies, scholars and policy makers must take into account the powerful role of these informal groups, how they adapt and change over time, and how they may constrain or undermine democratization in this strategic region.
• No other book explicitly offers an empirical and theoretical study of clans; this book also integrates a multi-case comparative approach • This book is the first major study of the Soviet and post-Soviet politics and regime transition/failed democratization in Central Asia • The book is based on many years of in-depth field research between 1994 and 2004, in both urban and rural Central Asia
List of Tables and Figures; Preface; Acknowledgements; Note on Transliteration; 1. An introduction to political development and transition in Central Asia; 2. Clan politics and regime transition in Central Asia: a framework for understanding politics in clan-based societies; 3. Colonialism to Stalinism: the dynamic between clans and the State; 4. The informal politics of Central Asia from Brezhnev through Gorbachev; 5. Transition from above or below? (1990–1991); 6. Central Asia's transition (1991–1995); 7. Central Asia's regime transformation (1995–2004): Part I; 8. Central Asia's regime transformation (1995–2004): Part II; 9. Positive and negative political trajectories in clan-based societies; 10. Conclusion; Epilogue; Appendix; Index.