Workshop CFP: State-Citizenship Relations in Greater Central Asia

Type: International workshop

Date: October 18-19

Location: Prague, Czech Republic

Globalization and its attendant rapid socio-economic and political transformations have substantially redefined the way we see both the state and the institute of citizenship. The most prosaic debates have revolved around the idea of a decapitated or thinned state, which has lost significant authority to global capital circulations, corporate interests, international law, and the very internationalization of government through the growth of international institutions and agencies. The institute of citizenship has also been redefined in this context, with space created for an assumption of instrumentality. The function of citizenship is seen to enclose greater flexibility, mobility, and access to markets and safety, thus shedding some of the concept of loyalty to the political bodies that have produced it through laws.

These discussions, however, do not always align with contexts where citizenship and statehood are undergoing frequent and rapid transformation as a result of revolution, the collapse of supranational polities, the transition from socialism to the market, or the receipt of independence out of political disintegration. Here, the growth of nationalism and the development of state ideologies resting on ethnic or national cohesion complicate and problematize the narrative. Central Asia in this regard represents a region where the ideas of statehood and belonging are undergoing marked changes in the context of the ongoing transition to a free market ideology. The kind of citizenship and state of belonging that will be ultimately produced as a result remains an open debate.

The Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences is organizing an international workshop to reflect on citizens’ modes and levels of participation in various aspects of Central Asia’s social, economic, political and cultural life. It also aims to explore the types of governing practices and rules that have been and are utilized to produce certain configurations of state-society relations in Central Asia and Western China, understood to include colonial subjects, Soviet citizens, post-socialist citizens, and ethnic minorities.

Finally, the workshop aims to address states’ strategies to earmark and flexibly segment their citizens in the context of national and international politics. It further considers the ability of these states’ citizens to adopt the classification patterns labeling them as religious groups, ethnic majorities, or even within the categories of “women,” “youth,” and so forth to achieve their own goals within state policy.

Below is a list of possible questions and themes for the workshop. At the same time, this is not exhaustive, and we are open to other related topics.

  • Citizen/subjects’ strategies of engaging with governing institutions;
  • How can the study of society elucidate the forms and nature of government?
  • What kinds of citizenship regimes have been observed in Central Asia?
  • What is the role of civil society/non-government organizations in the relationship between the state and citizens?
  • The role of the economy in affecting modes of government and engagement with state institutions;
  • The role of ideology in producing ideas and forms of belonging;
  • The state strategies of segmentation of its citizens in context of foreign diplomacy, economic relations and ethnic policy.

We invite contributions focusing on region of greater Central Asia, including both the former Soviet republics and Western China and Mongolia.

The working language of the workshop will be English.

Those wishing to participate are kindly requested to send an abstract (350 words) along with a short author bio to following e-mails: bahovadinova@orient.cas.cz and ptackova@orient.cas.cz

The deadline for abstract submissions is March 15, 2019.

Confirmation of accepted proposals: April 15, 2019

Deadline for draft paper submission: September 15, 2019.

For inquiries contact: Jarmila Ptackova and Malika Bahovadinova at e-mail: bahovadinova@orient.cas.cz and ptackova@orient.cas.cz

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