Symbolism and Power in Central Asia : Politics of the Spectacular book cover
1st Edition

Symbolism and Power in Central Asia
Politics of the Spectacular

Edited By

Sally Cummings

ISBN 9780415815970
Published November 13, 2012 by Routledge
268 Pages

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Book Description

With the collapse of communism, post-communist societies scrambled to find meaning to their new independence. Central Asia was no exception. Events, relationships, gestures, spatial units and objects produced, conveyed and interpreted meaning. The new power container of the five independent states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan would significantly influence this process of signification. Post-Soviet Central Asia is an intriguing field to examine this transformation: a region which did not see an organised independence movement develop prior to Soviet implosion at the centre, it provokes questions about how symbolisation begins in the absence of a national will to do so.

The transformation overnight of Soviet republic into sovereign state provokes questions about how the process of communism-turned-nationalism could become symbolised, and what specific role symbols came to play in these early years of independence. Characterized by authoritarianism since 1991, the region’s ruling elites have enjoyed disproportionate access to knowledge and to deciding what, how and when that knowledge should be applied. The first of its kind on Central Asia, this book not only widens our understandings of developments in this geopolitically important region but also contributes to broader studies of representation, ritual, power and identity.

This book was published as a special issue of Europe-Asia Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: A Europe Integrated and United—But Still Diverse? - Gabriella Ilonszki  2. History Matters: Dimensions and Determinants of National Identities among European Populations and Elites - Heinrich Best  3. Identity and Representation in the Perceptions of Political Elites and Public Opinion: A Comparison between Southern and Post-Communist Central-Eastern Europe - Miguel Jerez-Mir, José Real-Dato and Rafael Vázquez-García  4. Threat Perception and European Identity Building: The Case of Elites in Belgium, Germany, Lithuania and Poland - Irmina Matonytė and Vaidas Morkevičius  5. The Nation State and the EU in the Perceptions of Political and Economic Elites: the Case of Serbia in Comparative Perspective - Mladen Lazić and Vladimir Vuletić  6. Explaining the Attitudes of Parliamentarians towards European Integration in Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia: Party Affiliation, ‘Left–right’ Self-placement or Country Origin? – Spyridoula Nezi, Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos and Panayiota Toka  7. Identity Formation of Elites in Old and New Member States (With a Special Focus on the Czech Elite) - Zdenka Mansfeldová and Barbora Špicarová Stašková  8. National Discontent and EU support in Central and Eastern Europe - Gabriella Ilonszki  9. Elites’ Pragmatic and Symbolic Views about European Integration - György Lengyel

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Sally N. Cummings teaches at the University of St. Andrews. Her current research focuses on the politics of culture and political communication, primarily in Central Asia. Her publications include: Domestic and International Perspectives on Kyrgyzstan’s ‘Tulip Revolution’ (Routledge, 2009), Kazakhstan: Power and the Elite (IB Tauris 2005), Oil, Transition and Security in Central Asia (London and New York: Routledge, 2003) and Kazakhstan: Centre-Periphery Relations (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs and Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2000).