Citizenship in Central Asia

Authored by: Vanessa Ruget

Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies

Print publication date:  June  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415519724
eBook ISBN: 9780203102015
Adobe ISBN: 9781136237966


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The concept of citizenship, broadly defined as a collective identity in the nation-state that comes with assorted rights and responsibilities, does not figure prominently in the literature on post-communist Central Asia. Scholars of the region have instead explored the role played by ethnicity, clans, regions, and local networks and argued that Central Asian countries lack a strong national identity. Yet, the five nations that constitute Central Asia – Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan – offer fascinating lessons for the study of citizenship. They exemplify the trials of forging civic bonds in recently created post-communist states which have experienced massive political, economic, and social changes in the last two decades. Although the practices and discourses of citizenship vary significantly between those five nations, all have struggled with core citizenship questions related to national language, minority inclusion, and the scope of social, economic, and political rights. These countries are now confronting vast outflows and inflows of labour migrants, which are giving new meanings to borders, passports, and feelings of membership (Ruget and Usmanalieva 2008, 2010).

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