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Civil Society in Central Asiaby Holt M. Ruffin
Synopses & Reviews
Central Asia, known as the home of Tamerlane and the Silk Road, is a crossroads of great cultures and civilizations. In 1991 five nations at the heart of the region — Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — suddenly became independent. Today they sit strategically between Russia, China, and Iran and hold some of the world's largest deposits of oil and natural gas. Long-suppressed ethnic identities are finding new expression in language, religion, and occasional civil conflicts.<P>Civil Society in Central Asia is a pathbreaking collection of essays by scholars and activists that illuminates the social and institutional forces shaping this important region's future. An appendix provides a guide to projects being carried out by local and international groups.
Book News Annotation:
Covering Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and, Tajikistan, these 12 essays (drawn from a 1998 conference sponsored by the Center for Civil Society International) explore the prospects of and dangers facing the growth of Western-style democracy in Central Asia. Reflecting a range of disciplines and perspectives, the articles touch upon such topics as the role of environmental NGOs, the realization of freedom of association, prospects for an independent media, and the emergent role of Islam in the area.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Central Asia, home of Tamerlane and the Silk Road, is a crossroads of great cultures and civilizations. In 1991 five nations at the heart of the region — Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — suddenly became independent from the USSR. Today they sit strategically between Russia, China, and Iran, holding some of the world's largest deposits of oil and natural gas. Long-suppressed ethnic identities are finding new expression in language, religion, the arts, international alignments — and occasional civil conflicts.
In the decades ahead, what kind of societies will the more than 50 million people living in Central Asia create? Single-party secular states, Islamic republics, market democracies, something else?
Civil Society in Central Asia is a pathbreaking collection of essays by scholars and activists that illuminates the social and institutional forces shaping this important region's future. Are the foundations of a democratic order emerging? As the essays suggest, trends are contradictory and vary in each country.
This timely book matches contributions by leading specialists such as S. Frederick Starr, Olivier Roy, Scott Horton, Alla Kazakina, Abdumannob Polat, and Reuel Hanks with the insights of individuals who have been on the front lines of the struggle for civil society in Central Asia itself — representatives of organizations such as Counterpart, Internews, and the Kazakstan International Bureau for Human Rights. Topics range from the legal framework for free association to grassroots movements for environmental protection, the resurgence of Islam, and the viability of the Soviet-era collective farms. A 75-page appendix provides a guide tomany of the most significant projects being carried out by local and international NGOs in the region.
Table of Contents
Civil society in Central Asia / S. Frederick Starr — The legal regulation of NGOs: Central Asia at a crossroads / Scott Horton and Alla Kazakina — Freedom of association and the question of its realization in Kazakhstan / Evgeny A. Zhovtis — Government and nonprofit sector relations in the Kyrgyz Republic / Erkinbek Kasybekov — Environmental NGOs and the development of civil society in Central Asia / Kate Watters — Kolkhoz and civil society in the independent states of Central Asia / Olivier Roy — Prospects for development of an independent media in Kazakhstan / Oleg Katsiev — Can Uzbekistan build democracy and civil society? / Abdumannob Polat — Civil society and identity in Uzbekistan: the emergent role of Islam / Reuel Hanks — Islam and Tajikistan's human and ecological crisis / Aziz Niyazi — Women's NGOs in Central Asia's evolving societies / Ula Ikramova and Kathryn McConnell — The real work: sustaining NGO growth in Central Asia / Jay Cooper — Organizations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan — Online resources: e-mail lists, web sites, Internet access centers in Central Asia.
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology