Seraphine Maerz | 2018

Ma’naviyat in Uzbekistan: An Ideological Extrication from Its Soviet Past?

in: Journal of Political Ideologies, 23:2, 205-222

The intensively propagated moral construct of ma’naviyat penetrates all fields of public life in present-day Uzbekistan. The originally religious term is used as the moral foundation of the state’s official ‘ideology of national independence’. Portrayed as a return of the Uzbek people to their pre-Soviet past and their innate values and traditions, the ideological concept is preached as the only effective remedy for overcoming the negative Soviet legacies.

Yet the analysis of the phenomenon shows that both the conceptualization of ma’naviyat at large and the concept’s underlying rhetoric, ideas and structures reveal many analogies to Soviet times. By offering a detailed linguistic analysis of a range of official writings, I argue that the discourse about ma’naviyat works – similarly to Soviet ideological patterns – as a strong legitimizing factor of today’s authoritarian regime.

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