State, society and identity in Uzbekistan: Differentiation among Ferghana Valley Uzbeks
Uzbeks in the Ferghana Valley of Uzbekistan increasingly perceive themselves to be distinct from their ethnic brethren in other parts of the country. Two predominant approaches in existing literature, which either view identity formation as a process enmeshed in social relations or as the result of the manipulation of categories by a hegemonic power, do not offer an adequate framework with which to analyze this case of differentiation. This thesis, after presenting the historical and post-Soviet political context in which identity formation occurs in Uzbekistan, moves beyond this theoretical divide by examining the cross-fertilization of Islamic discourse and national ideology in the construction of a sense of difference among Ferghana Valley Uzbeks. By placing the processes of identity formation in the context of interrelations between state and society, this thesis suggests a more nuanced alternative to the study of identity.