State and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This module will analyze the key aspects of Soviet-era transformation and post-Soviet transition in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) and the Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia).

The module aims to enable students to acquire an in-depth knowledge and understanding of critical issues of state-society relations in the region such as: the contradictions between nation and state building; politics of Islam, culture, ethnicity, and gender; the patterns of resistance and compliance; the relationship between formal and informal institutions; the consolidation of neopatrimonial regimes and their fragility, and debates on indigenous versus neoliberal conceptions of democracy and civil society. By developing a comprehensive understanding of the encounters between Soviet legacy and post-socialist transition, the module will enable the students to assess and engage in a comparison of the divergent trajectories of post-Soviet transition in the region.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • A broad understanding of the nature of state and society in the region
  • An appreciation of the shared Russian and Soviet legacy as well as different cultural, socio-economic and developmental trajectories in Central Asia and the Caucasus
  • A critical understanding of processes aiding post-Soviet transition and hampering it
  • An analytical perspective that questions the prevalent myths and stereotypes about the region
  • An in-depth inquiry into a topic of their interest pertaining to the region
  • The ability to apply social science concepts and theories to analyse political developments in the region


  • Two-hour seminar per week

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 20%
  • Assignment 2: 80%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules