Political vs. Everyday Forms of Governance in Uzbekistan: The Illegal, Immoral, and Illegitimate

Abel Polese, Rustam Urinboyev, Mans Svensson, Laura Adams, Tanel Kerikmae

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Uzbekistan, this article looks at the way official state narratives are challenged by silent, unorganized, often unawares, gestures of resistance at the bottom of a society. Footing on a framework suggested by Scott’s definition of infrapolitics (2012), we propose to incorporate informal practices in a definition of informality that is more inclusive, and better explains the anatomy of a modern state, whose functioning rests on a combination of formal and informal practices. We suggest that this everyday dimension is of particular importance here when trying to understand the governance trajectories as it allows to look critically, and from a broader perspective, at situations where individual and state perception of events, but also individual and state morality, diverge. By doing this, we propose that governance in transition states and societies may be regarded as a space where formal institutions and citizens (or informal institutions) compete for power and resources and thereby produce informal, alternative “legal orders” and mechanisms that regulate public life in a given area. We will suggest that such a space of informal negotiation is vital in contexts where collective mobilization and public articulation of social claims is not a preferred, or even available, strategy for citizens.
Original languageEnglish
Publication Year1 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

NameInternational Political Economy series
ISSN (Print)2662-2483
ISSN (Electronic)2662-2491

Bibliographical note

First published 2018 in Studies of Transition States and Societies 10(1).

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • 5200 Other social sciences
  • Russian and Eurasian Studies

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