The European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) successfully hosted its highly anticipated regional conference, "Power, People, and Cultural Change in an Ever-Evolving Central Asia," held from September 21 to 24, 2023 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The event brought together esteemed scholars, researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts from across the globe to delve into the multifaceted dynamics of Central Asia's ongoing transformation.
Hosted in the vibrant city of Almaty, Kazakhstan, the conference provided an unparalleled platform for comprehensive and interdisciplinary dialogue, fostering a deeper understanding of the region's evolving landscapes. With a particular focus on the interplay between power, people, and cultural change, the four-day event featured captivating keynote speeches, thought-provoking panel discussions, engaging paper presentations, and interactive workshops.
The conference program encompassed a wide range of topics, including political developments, socio-cultural transformations, economic advancements, and environmental sustainability in Central Asia. More than 50 panels within various disciplines such as anthropology, gender studies, international relations, sociology, history, media studies, political science, development studies, education, sociology of law, and economy were conducted, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of Central Asia's diverse facets.
One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of research by the Central Asian Law and MOCCA project participants, shedding light on the legal cultures, business environments, and corruption dynamics in the region. Notable presentations included:
Central Asian Law: Legal Cultures and Business Environments in Central Asia:
- "Local government and everyday business life: A case study of sectors in rural Uzbekistan" presented by Rustamjon Urinboyev, Sherzod Eraliev, Lund University, Sweden
- "Comparative study of rural crime phenomenon in Latin America and Central Asia" presented by Patrik Olsson, Lund University, Sweden
- "Legal Informality and Debt-Based Trade in Uzbekistan: Case Study of Rassiychilar in Rural Fergana" presented by Elmurod Sobirov, Lund University, Sweden
- "Questionable practices and publication strategies among Central Asian researchers" presented by Berdymyrat Ovezmyradov, Tebiggy Kuwwat Public Association, Turkmenistan
Multi-Level Orders of Corruption in Central Asia:
- "Art and Humor as Anti-corruption Tools in Authoritarian Contexts: Social Media in Uzbekistan" presented by Sherzod Eraliev and Rustamjon Urinboyev, Lund University, Sweden
- "Demand and supply nature of corruption" presented by Nuruipa Mukanova, Anticorruption Business Council under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyzstan
- "Administrative Law Reforms in Uzbekistan: Legal Motives vs Social Realities" presented by Tolibjon Mustafoev, Law Enforcement Academy, Uzbekistan
- "Legal culture and business environment in Kyrgyzstan. A study of legal and moral aspects of running a business in Kyrgyzstan" presented by Chekhros Kilichova, Lund University, Sweden
In addition to showcasing the research of established scholars, the ESCAS conference provided a platform for emerging scholars and early-career researchers to present their work and receive valuable feedback from established experts in the field. This inclusive approach aimed to foster the growth and development of the next generation of Central Asian studies scholars.