The institution of sovereignty in Central Asia

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This chapter illustrates how the Central Asian republics have adopted and interpreted the institution of sovereignty after becoming independent in 1991. By relying on an English School framework of analysis combined with subaltern realism, on material gathered during multi-year fieldwork in the region and on elite interviews with Central Asian diplomats, the analysis shows how a strictly legal and territorial understanding of sovereignty is the one prevalent in Central Asia, supported by an authoritarian form of governance intertwined with postcolonial discourses and processes of state- and nation-building. Through the case-study of Central Asia, the chapter also upholds the idea that to study sovereignty in a time where processes of globalisation, regionalisation and re-ordering of world politics are becoming increasingly complex, a thorough understanding of local histories, practices and meanings is crucial.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSovereignty
Subtitle of host publicationa global perspective
EditorsChristopher Smith
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherPublished for the British Academy by Oxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780191991745
ISBN (Print)9780197267127
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022
EventSovereignty: a global perspective -
Duration: 29 Apr 201930 Apr 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
ISSN (Print)0068-1202


ConferenceSovereignty: a global perspective
Internet address


  • Sovereignty
  • Central Asia
  • Localisation
  • Authoritarianism
  • Postcolonialism


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