The Transformation of Tajikistan: The Sources of Statehood, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Transformation of Tajikistan

The Sources of Statehood, 1st Edition

Edited by John Heathershaw, Edmund Herzig


210 pages

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Tajikistan is one of the lesser-known and least-researched former Soviet Central Asian republics. The birth of the new state in 1991 was followed closely by a civil war which killed more than 50,000 people and displaced many tens of thousands more. While a peace agreement was signed in 1997, significant political violence continued until 2001 and intermittent outbreaks still occur today. Many claim it remains a very weak state and perhaps in danger of state failure or a return to civil war. However, the revival of Tajikistan should not simply be seen in terms of its post-conflict stabilization. Since its creation as a republic of the Soviet Union in 1920s, Tajikistan has been transformed from being a shell for socialist engineering to become a national society under a modern state. Despite a multitude of economic, social and political shocks, the Republic of Tajikistan endures.

This book places the transformation of Tajikistan in its Soviet and Post-Soviet historical settings and local and global contexts. It explores the sources of a state with Soviet roots but which has been radically transformed by independence and its exposure to global politics and economics. The authors address the sources of statehood in history, Islam and secularism, gender relations, the economy, international politics and security affairs.

This book is a new edition of a special issue of Central Asian Survey, ‘Tajikistan: the sources of statehood’, including two additional papers and a revised introduction.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the sources of statehood in Tajikistan, John Heathershaw I. The roots of statehood 2. “Hapless Imperialists: European ‘Developers’ in Soviet Central Asia in the 1920s and 1930s”, Botagoz Kassymbekova 3. “Soviet population transfers and interethnic relations in Tajikistan: assessing the concept of ethnicity,” Olivier Ferrando 4. "From resettlement to conflict: development-induced involuntary displacement and violence in Tajikistan", Alexander Sodiqov II. Islam and statehood 5. “From Revival to Mutation: The Religious Personnel of Islam in Tajikistan from De-Stalinisation to Independence (1953-1991)”, Stephane A. Dudoignon 6. “Defining normative Islam: Some remarks on contemporary Islamic Thought in Tajikistan – Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda’s Sharia and Society” Tim Epkenhans III. Gender and statehood 7. “Affairs of the State: gender, sex and marriage in Tajikistan”, Colette Harris 8.“Wedding rituals and the struggle over national identities”, Sophie Roche and Sophie Hohmann IV. Security, economy and statehood 9. “Counter Narcotics policies in Tajikistan and their impact on state-building,” Filippo de Danieli 10. "Statehood as Dialogue: Conflicting Historical Narratives of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan", Mohira Suyarkulova 11. "Tajikistan amidst globalization: failed state or state transformation?", John Heathershaw

About the Editors

John Heathershaw is Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Exeter. He is the author of Post-Conflict Tajikistan: The Politics of Peacebuilding and the Emergence of Legitimate Order.

Edmund Herzig is Soudavar Professor of Persian Studies and Fellow of Wadham College, University of Oxford.

About the Series


THIRDWORLDS will focus on the political economy, development and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval, and which have faced the greatest challenges of the postcolonial world under globalisation: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.

THIRDWORLDS serves as a signifier of oppositional emerging economies and cultures ranging from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and even those ‘Souths’ within a larger perceived North, such as the U.S. South and Mediterranean Europe. The study of these otherwise disparate and discontinuous areas, known collectively as the Global South, demonstrates that as globalisation pervades the planet, the south, as a synonym for subalterity, also transcends geographical and ideological frontiers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General