The Rentier State Model and Central Asian Studies: The Turkmen Case
By Ahmet Kuru
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the theoretical perspectives for Central Asian studies became less capable to explore the region. The new republics of the region cannot be politically considered any more as a part of Soviet studies. They cannot be ideologically examined as socialist countries either. Some scholars have tended to survey Central Asian republics as a part of the Muslim world. However, the radical secularist political and bureaucratic structures of these republics, in addition to the weaknesses of the Islamic institutions (except Uzbekistan and Tajikistan), have complicated an Islam-based theoretical framework. The rising (particularly official) nationalism in these countries is also claimed to be an alternative window to analyze the region. However, nationalism is used very instrumentally by the governments of these countries, and moreover, does not have an institutionalized popular basis. Therefore, nationalism cannot be an independent tool of analysis. So, what might be the new theoretical perspective for Central Asian studies?
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