Development aid in Tajikistan
: six global paradigms and practice on the ground

  • Karolina Kluczewska

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis examines actors, interactions and normativities involved in development aid in Tajikistan. It analyses trajectories of six global paradigms which are promoted in the country by Western donors: good governance, local knowledge, local ownership, organised recruitment, women’s empowerment and doing business. The thesis advances three main themes. First, it analyses why and how national donor agencies and international organisations foster the selected paradigms in the country. Second, it highlights local actors’ perspectives on donors’ interventions and describes everyday practices of re-appropriation of the paradigms, such as compliance, brokerage and acts of subversion against donors. Third, the thesis identifies arising contestations of the paradigms by local non-governmental organisations and the government, as well as alternative imaginaries of development emerging on the ground. Theoretically, the thesis is situated within critical development studies and represents a theoretical bricolage rooted in three distinct strands of academic literature: International Relations’ research on norm diffusion, anthropology of development and the post-development theory. Methodologically, the thesis argues in favour of political ethnography. Its methodological bricolage includes action research, interviews, participant observation and visual research practices. Overall, the thesis contributes to the literature on contemporary Tajikistan; development practices in Central Asia; and critical imaginaries of development.
Date of AwardJun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorRick Fawn (Supervisor) & Ali Massoud Ansari (Supervisor)

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • Restricted until 14 February 2029

Cite this