|Civil Society in
by M. Holt Ruffin and Daniel Waugh
Central Asia, known as the home of Tamerlane and the Silk Road, is a crossroads of great cultures and civilizations. In 1991 five new 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. Ethnic and national identities formerly suppressed now find expression in language, religion, the arts, new international alignments and, occasionally, severe civil conflicts.
In the decades ahead what kind of societies will the 50+ million people living in this very-old-and-very-new part of the world 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 looks at some of the social and institutional developments which are shaping this important region's future. Are institutions emerging which create the foundations of a democratic order? As the essays suggest, trends are contradictory and not the same for each country.
This timely book matches contributions by leading specialists such as S. Frederick Starr, Olivier Roy, Aziz Niyazi, 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 addressed are as diverse as the legal framework for independent associational activity, 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 to many of the most significant projects being carried out by local and international NGOs in the region.
M. Holt Ruffin is executive director of Center for Civil Society International, based in Seattle, and Daniel C. Waugh is Associate Professor of History and International Studies, University of Washington.
A co-publication of Center for Civil Society International and the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
Civil Society in Central Asia is 331 pages in length. It sells for $19.95 + $4 shipping and handling (domestic). Contact us for international rates.
Visit the Central Asia Gallery with selected photos of the region by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Olga Shalygin, who provided the cover image for Civil Society in Central Asia.
© Photograph by Olga Shalygin
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