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Informality and Business Environment in Central Asia 
Elmurod Sobirov (Lund University)
Rustamjon Urinboyev (Lund University)
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Elmurod Sobirov (Lund University)
Erhan Dogan (Marmara University)
Sociology & Social Issues
William Pitt Union (WPU): room 538
Friday 20 October, -
Time zone: America/New_York


The proposed panel aims to examine the interplay between informality and everyday business life in the Central Asian context. Central Asia’s business and economic context represents intriguing, given the fact that Central Asian countries are considered some of the most corrupt countries in the world according to Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index. At the same time, the Central Asian region is one of the key prospective markets for foreign investors due to its rich natural resources, growing middle-class population and progressive opening up to the outside world. However, the Central Asian region is a challenging environment to navigate and understand its legal culture. This is due to authoritarian tendencies, uncertain legal environment and the peculiar way in which the rule of law is interpreted and applied in the region, which leads to a conflict between (a) what is considered moral, socially acceptable or even legal in the region, and (b) what is considered good practice, in line with international law and standards. This is further exacerbated by the recalcitrant social norms and practices that promote alternative (to the state law) versions of social behaviour. The proposed panel aims to explore and illustrate these processes by analysing the social context of business in Uzbekistan, the nexus between local government and local business elites in rural Uzbekistan, formal and informal institutions of land allocation in rural Central Asia, and business associations in Kyrgyzstan.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 20 October, 2023, -