Saturday, August 16, 2008

PUBL.- Argorods of Western Uzbekistan: Knowledge Control and Agriculture in Khorezm

Distrib. by: Central-Eurasia-L - Announcement List for Central Eurasian Studies

PUBL.- Argorods of W. Uzbekistan: Knowledge Control and Agriculture in Khorezm

Posted by: Caleb Wall <>

The Center for Development Research at Bonn University (ZEF) is glad
to announce the publication of:

Argorods of Western Uzbekistan: Knowledge Control and Agriculture in Khorezm
by Caleb Wall
Berlin and Vienna: LIT Verlag. 344 pages. 29.90 euro.
ISBN 978-3-8258-1426-7

"Agricultural Knowledge is important in rural Uzbekistan, it is also
contested. This book illustrates how risk-takers and rule-makers
negotiate knowledge in rural Uzbekistan"

Agricultural Knowledge is important in rural Uzbekistan, it is also
contested. Knowledge determines the livelihoods of the majority of
the rural population, it helps explain why social organisation occurs
in its unique way and it provides a useful mechanism to examine how
state authority plays out at the local level.

This book shows the ways in which local people create and share
agricultural knowledge, seeing this as a useful mirror to
understanding how state authority operates at the lowest levels in
rural Uzbekistan. In this way, modern Uzbeks are acting as risk takers
in using their household plots 'argorods' and vegetable production to
promote local development. Just as Malinowski's analysis of Western
Pacific Argonauts helped us to understand economic activity as
grounded in social organisation, culture and external restraints ­
this book aims to explain why it is that rural development in
Uzbekistan has taken the path it has, post-1991.

The focus of this book is on explaining 'local knowledge' from the
perspective of the insider in the Khorezm province of western
Uzbekistan. By detailing the ways in which knowledge is socially
structured in Khorezm the book explains much about how rural society
operates. For instance the prevalence of 'masters' as a reflection of
the particular understanding of authority in rural Uzbekistan
(joshuli), heavily informed by state authoritarianism. Likewise, the
way in which the state seeks to control and delimit knowledge, through
a 'state plan' for cotton and wheat ­ and by the enforcement of state
'norms by the 'plough police' ­ tells us much about the machinations
of one of the world's more repressive regimes. Yet rural Uzbeks are
also active experimenters and sharers of knowledge, conducting
community building activities (khashar) and distributing seeds through
familial networks.

Based on over one year of field research in a village in Khorezm, this
book details the role that the Soviet history had in producing
'knowledge loss' and in developing an agricultural system largely
unsuited to the desert steppe. It then goes on to explain how rural
Uzbeks have responded to the collapse of the Soviet system, post-1991,
with a mixture of ingenuity and inflexibility. This is followed by an
account of how the state enforces its control over agricultural
production, and agricultural knowledge, at the local level. Providing
a unique insight into how state power is reproduced and enacted at the
lowest levels, distant from the political centre.

Brief Biography:

Caleb Wall is a development consultant with a PhD from the University of Bonn

To order please visit: (for orders within Austria and Germany) (available now) (pre-order for delivery soon)

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