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Dueling Isms : Soviet and Regional Identity in Central Asia

Nandini Bhattacharya, Shipra Pub, 2008, xvi, 292 p, ISBN : 8175413702, $25.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Foreword. Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Socialism and nationalism. 3. Political evolution and economic experience: Central Asia under the Soviet Rule. 4. Religion: the determining factor in Central Asian identity. 5. Role of language in the identity: formation of Central Asia. 6. Role of ethnic factors in the development of multi-layered identities in Central Asia. 7. Perestroika, Glasnost and the change in Central Asia. 8. Quest for identity continues--conclusion. Bibliography. Endnotes. Index.

"Marxist ideology and ethnic identities are usually counterpoised in the mainstream literature. No where has the mutual dynamics and interactions between these two forces been more profound and innovative than in the Soviet Central Asia. This book offers a lucid explanation of this volatile and little understood phenomenon. Dueling Isms concerns the events of Post-Soviet Central Asia and on the inter-ethnic relations in the Eurasian region, where initially after the Soviet disintegration there was a nationalising impulse that threatened the internal harmony of the multi-ethnic societies. The book shows how the Soviet Union tried to accommodate national, ethnic, religious, linguistic and regional identities as long as they did not clash with Soviet identity. The work reveals the mechanisms through which the Soviet system even encouraged some of these identities such as the linguistic identity of the Tajiks, though these identities had their relative spheres of influences and were subservient to the larger Soviet identity. The book draws attention to the difficulties involved in consolidating national identities in the post-Soviet period. Given the centrality of ethnic and Islamist impulses of contemporary times, the book is sure to raise curiosity for any one interested in the history and sociology of Soviet Central Asia." (jacket)

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