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Sociologist’s Journey Through The Socio-Economic History of Uzbekistan

Alisher Ilkhamov

31 January, 2024

This essay is experimental in its genre. It represents an attempt to articulate the author’s perspective on a series of socio-economic development issues in Uzbekistan. This is done by reconstructing the key stages of the author’s evolving views on the world and these problems. In this sense, the article combines the genres of autobiographical essays with an account of the key stages in the country’s socio-economic history. The author incorporates materials from some of his past publications (though not all), while also offering additional analysis of selected topics.

In his reminiscences, the author covers a period spanning roughly half a century, starting from his initial student experiences when the collapse of the Soviet Union was still far off, and the era of Perestroika had not yet arrived. Subsequently, attention shifted to the post-Soviet period. In terms of thematic coverage, the author offers a panorama of subjects of his interest, as follows:

  • Sharp social stratification in the post-Soviet period;
  • Emergence of the class of “new poor”;
  • Complexity of studying family budgets in Uzbekistan;
  • Policy changes in Uzbekistan’s agricultural sector;
  • The system of forced labour in Uzbekistan’s cotton sector;
  • Issues of corruption and repatriation of stolen assets back to the country;
  • Finally, lingering institutional barriers to the economic growth of the country and attracting foreign investments.

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