Hs Department of Social Sciences
The eagerly awaited third edition of this
highly respected and user-friendly text for introductory courses has
been thoroughly updated to reflect the world today. Politics: An Introduction provides
stimulating coverage of topics essential to the understanding of
contemporary politics. It offers students necessary guidance on ways of
studying and understanding politics, and illustration of the many
different sites at which politics is construed and conducted. Ideal for
students taking combined degrees at introductory level in politics and
the social sciences, it emphasises the individual and social dimension
of politics and covers theories and concepts in an accessible way.
Fundamentally, it helps students see the political, and its relevance,
in their lives.
Key features include:
Politics: An Introduction is a broad-ranging, accessible, and essential guide for all students studying, or beginning to study, politics.
This book brings together a series of innovative contributions which provide an eclectic view of how theorizing politics plays out in Central Asia. How are the concepts of governance, legitimacy, ideology, power, order, and the state framed in the region? How can we use the experiences of the Central Asian states to renovate political theorizing? In addressing these questions, the volume relies on the contributions of many young and local researchers, whose chapters are primed to address three key themes: exploring models of governance, revealing ideological justifications, and reframing state and order. Utilizing a range of single and comparative case studies from across the Central Asian space, this illuminating and original volume opens up a new space for political theorists, regional specialists and students of politics to begin reconsidering how we approach the theorization of regions of the world assumed to be on the periphery.
Nomads are positioned outside of the modern conception of nations, which is based on a traditional or modern hierarchical model (Kuzio, 2001) which tends to “dehistoricize and essentialize tradition” (Chatterjee, 2010: 169). Using an analysis of the narrative construction of nomadic Kalmyk nationhood, particularly through historiography and culture, this article demonstrates that in spite of nation-destroying efforts from the Tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union, the Kalmyk nation has been flexible with reinventing cultural strategies in charting the nomadic national imaginary from Chinggis Khan to the Dalai Lama. It argues that nomadic nationhood contains a deeply imaginary response to nomads’ cultural and intellectual milieu which provided a way of freeing itself from Tsarist and Soviet modular narratives of national imagination, demonstrating how nomadic nationhood exists as a non-modular form of nationhood.
Using Weber’s concept of charismatic routinisation, this article analyses the dilemmas related to political succession and post-charismatic order in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. While the presidents of these three countries have drawn their authority from a combination of charismatic, legal-rational and traditional authority, they have relied most heavily on charisma in particular to sustain their rule. With the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan aging and facing the question of political succession, the article provides an analysis of the problems associated with potential for post-charismatic succession in these states. It does so by drawing on three of Weber’s mechanisms for charismatic routinisation: designation, hereditary charisma, and charisma in offi ce. The analysis demonstrates that in these three cases, despite charisma only having two routes available to it, traditional and legal-rational, the mixture of legalrational, traditional and charismatic domination undermines the process of charismatic routinisation. Consequently, the article argues that political succession in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will most likely evolve into a reconstitution of charismatic leadership.
As opposed to the current literature which argues that informal politics pervades formal institutions in Kazakhstan and Central Asia more widely, this article argues that Nur Otan, the political party of the President of Kazakhstan, acts as a formal institution to counter the instability generated by informal networks competing for access to political and economic resources. This is achieved by consolidating the political parties associated with these networks into Nur Otan and the synchronisation of the party and the state apparatus. However, the extent to which Nur Otan can provide this stabilising function in the long term is dependent upon regime dynamics.
This chapter brings to bear what Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan can explain with regard to the concepts of legitimacy and legitimation in authoritarianism. It argues how legitimation should be understood as a series of claims by the regime regarding their appropriateness to rule which are then transformed through social action which then produces legitimacy. The chapter challenges contemporary theorisation of legitimation in the post-Soviet space, which disaggregates the process too far, failing to address the overlapping and interdependent nature of legitimising claims. Instead, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan demonstrate how authoritarian regimes can rely on a combination of charismatic, traditional and legal-rational claims to evoke legitimation, but that ultimately, we can never truly know the extent to which broader society believes in the legitimacy of these regimes.
This chapter introduces the reader to the main idea of the book: to move beyond Central Asia as a field reserved to regional studies and towards the opportunities that it provides for theorizing politics. After a review of the scholarly debates and the main literature, it makes the case for a new take on generating theories of the political starting from this region. It concludes by introducing the analyses of the authors chapter by chapter along the three sections of the book: models of governance and power, revealing ideological justifications and reframing the state and order.