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- Friday 11 October, 11:00-12:45 (UTC+0)
Author:Mukhsin Rakhimov (Tajik Technical University)
Paper long abstract:
Formation and development of a civil society in Tajikistan have the specific features. First of all they are connected with features of psychology, mentality, habits, customs and traditions which should be considered during construction of the democratic institutes of a civil society and their mutual relation with the state power.
Formation of a civil society in Tajikistan faces also with such problems, connected with regionalism, tribalism and a clan relationship. Among these factors which interfere with formation of the democratic state and a development of principles of democracy it is necessary to indicate such factors as the raised religiousness of the population, psychology of a worship of personalities, servility, absence of political consciousness and culture.
One of a difficult of process of becoming Tajik civil society is that in it fighting two contrary factors: secular and religion where a dominant position occupies religion elements and values. The situation use Muslim fanatics. They are calling the young people to the radical activity and on a fight with a secular state. Those activities are based on the fundamental and extremists ideas and are directed on a destabilization and destroying of a secular state.
In the given paper I intend to investigate these problems and to show ways, means and mechanisms of their overcoming on a way of construction and development of a civil society in Tajikistan. Therefore for formation of a democratic civil society in republic it is necessary to give special attention to the specified elements of national psychology, an originality of national character and national identity.
The main purposes of my research proposal are:
1. To show an originality and distinctive signs of formation of a civil society in Tajikistan in a transition period.
2. To consider the basic difficulties and the problems arising in the process of becoming of the democratic state and a civil society.
3. On the basis of the comparative analysis to show the general and peculiarity traits of formation of a civil society in Tajikistan and in Central Asia.
4. To characterize functioning of institutes of a civil society (NGO) in Tajikistan: principles of mutual relation with the state and degree of their influence on the political power at the present stage.
Author:Tahmina Inoyatova (Simon Fraser University)
Paper long abstract:
Russian cultural industries have been dominant across media landscapes in majority of post-Soviet Central Asia countries as Russia remains the main economic and cultural power in the region. Tajikistan, as Central Asian's poorest nation with a strong economic dependency on Russia, has found it especially hard to adapt to a disproportionately powerful one-way media flow. "Orel i Reshka" ("Heads and Tails") has been one of the most popular TV travel shows among Russian-speaking audiences across the region. Originally produced in Ukraine, the show is broadcasted through the private Russian TV channel "Piatnitsa" ("Friday") and involves collaboration with Russian media producers, celebrities, bloggers and models, which makes it a hybrid product of Russian-Ukrainian media industry. "Orel i Reshka" has made two episodes centered in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, attracting a lot of attention and critique from the local audiences and authorities. The first episode of the show in 2014 was met with strong criticism from the local publics for creating an image of Tajiks being backward and uncivilized. During the show's second visit in 2018, Tajikistan Tourism Ministry collaborated with the show's team and played an active role in shaping the show's agenda by providing recommendations of touristic sights and activities for filming as well as financial support.
By conducting a critical discourse analysis of both episodes and audiences' responses on social media, this paper suggests that while Tajik audiences recognize the problematic nature of representation, they also internalize long standing orientalist stereotypes while seeking an "objective" representation from the show's creators and from the Russian-speaking audiences across the post-Soviet space, and especially in Russia. Audiences, along with local authorities, also recognize the show's significance in construction and promotion of a "modern and civilized" positive image of the country locally and abroad. In Tajikistan, such shows become important in negotiating modernity, national and cultural identity. Analysis builds on Said's critique of orientalism (Said, 1978) and critical scholars' work on post-Soviet Central Asia (Abashin, 2007, Tlostanova, 2015) and argues that "Orel i Reshka" is appropriating Eurocentric narrative and orientalist discourse to construct Central Asians as the exotic "other" in contrast to the white Russian-speaking audiences in Russia and Ukraine. Paper further emphasizes the significance of analysis of power dynamics in post-Soviet media system as phenomenon of "otherness" is rooted in the historic imperial and Soviet context of Russian dominance over the predominantly Muslim Central Asia, which further reflects the contemporary world system.
Author:Colleen Wood (Columbia University)
Paper long abstract:
What role does public education play in shaping civic and ethnic identities? This paper considers public education in Kyrgyzstan to explore the interaction of top-down and bottom-up processes of identity formation. In Kyrgyzstan, the right to education in one's "mother tongue" is enshrined in the constitution. In practice, this has meant that public education in Kyrgyzstan is offered in two state languages (Kyrgyz, Russian) and two minority languages (Uzbek, Tajik). In the past decade, the number of schools offering Uzbek-language education has sharply decreased. Some see the shift as evidence of discrimination on the part of Kyrgyzstan's increasingly ethno-nationalist government following ethnic clashes in 2010; others have suggested that Uzbek parents are eager for their children to be taught in state languages for economic and social advancement opportunities. Using school enrollment data and qualitative data gathered from elite interviews, focus groups, and a systematic review of textbook and curriculum standards, I present a framework considering the content and structure of Kyrgyzstan's public education. With this framework, I argue that government-sponsored curriculum shifts are emphasizing the ethnic Kyrgyz nature of Kyrgyzstani identity and that minorities are opting in to that narrative through shifting language education preferences as a result of both material and ideational incentives.
Author:Sahib Jafarov (University of Toronto)
Paper short abstract:
This study illuminates how the detached ethnicities determine, formulate and transform their collective identities, drawing on the case of young Uzbeks in Osh, Kyrgyzstan.
Paper long abstract:
After the demise of the Soviet Union, the mainstream of ethnic conflicts sprang out of people's perception of dissolution by political borders as a principal hazard to their cultural unity and ethnic identity. This study illuminates how the detached ethnicities determine, formulate and transform their collective identities, drawing on the case of young Uzbeks in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The case is unique because all of the separatism elements of the conflict; the region did not experience strong self-determination statements by the Uzbeks in Osh and irredentism policy by Uzbekistan. Qualitative method - semi-structured in-depth interviews were employed as a research tool. Interviews enclosed twenty Uzbek people living in Osh city. Paper reveals that divided ethnic minorities could not be an integral part of the nation-building process due to reciprocal threat perception of state and ethnic minority, uprising religious identity, the state's antagonistic policy approach towards ethno-symbolic elements and political participation.