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Citizenship and Ethnicity: Old Propiska and New Citizenship in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan

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This paper looks at two modes of 'belonging' in Uzbekistan: the first as a full citizen and the second as an 'illegal' resident of the place, these being two different ways of perceiving oneself as an Uzbek citizen. It is of crucial importance to consider the direct effect of existing internal registration regulations (propiska) on the self-perception of being a citizen and an Uzbek. I argue that this local policy, together with the failure of citizenship, has led to other kinds of memberships within non state institutions. The overarching Uzbek national identity has become a formal cover and an instrument for political discourse only at a higher level. At the lower level, as local discourses indicate, 'ethnic' or regional net-works and identities have been strengthened and regained their importance in the everyday lives of people in Uzbekistan. I will make use of contemporary approaches to the studies of citizenship that focus on the experiences of citizens and social construction of citizenship from below. The data used in the article was collected as part of fieldwork of thirteen months conducted in Uzbekistan.


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