Sustainability of Central Asian Societies: Studies on Neighborhood Community (Mahalla)

Research Project , Research Report 2006

Hisao KOMATSU Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Univ. of Tokyo
Timur DADABAEV Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Humanities, Univ. of Tsukuba

Abstract

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the former Soviet Central Asian republics joined the international community as newly independent states. These countries, undergoing great changes in political and economic system, strive to maintain social stability in the face of a number of internal and external threats. One of the ways to preserve social stability in Central Asia in the time of transition is represented by mahalla (neighborhood community) that has centuries-long history of functioning as a network which provided for people’s needs especially in oasis areas located in southern Central Asia, mostly in contemporary Uzbekistan. Mahalla therefore can be considered to be a social organization holding a sustainable social development potential and as a basis of emerging civil society. This study aimed to analyze the present situation, problems, and future prospects of mahallas by conducting field surveys in Uzbekistan in cooperation with Uzbek colleagues in Tashkent.

Keywords:

Central Asia, Uzbekistan, mahalla, neighborhood