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State builders, nation destroyers? Clans and national cohesion in Central Asia

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(Project) M.A.
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Author: Kim, Hyun K
Contrary to prevailing theories on clans, high levels of national identification, as reported in an AsiaBarometer survey conducted in 2005, indicate that citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan possess a greater proclivity to a civic identity than to any other form of subnational identification. This essay examines the relationship between state and society, in order to understand how high levels of national identification can exist in a political and social arena trapped within the traditionalism of clan politics. Although clans remain a source of identification in Central Asia, it does not take precedence over a civic identity among the citizens, as it does among the political elite. The conflicts which have occurred in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are indicative of the rift between a state engaged in clan-based practices and a society eager to transition into a political and social arena based on the tenets of modern, democratic statehood.
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