Studying states and regimes in Central Asia: contributions to comparative politics and future challenges

Lawrence P. Markowitz, Scott Radnitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article surveys research on regimes and states in Central Asia and assesses its contribution to Political Science, specifically the subfield of comparative politics. It discusses three areas in which research on the region has been influenced by and, in turn, fruitfully shaped the comparative political analysis of state and regime: a turn from macro- to micro-level topics; innovations in research design; and the embrace of interdisciplinarity. It then addresses the challenges confronting scholars of the region, including uneven theoretical contributions to comparative politics and impediments in the feasibility of field research. It identifies several lively debates in comparative politics to which Central Asianists have the potential to contribute important insights. It concludes that the study of states and regimes in Central Asia has greatly enriched some debates in comparative politics (and vice versa), but declining pools of funding, the politicization of academic research, and unequal access to institutional resources among local and Western scholars threaten to diminish the field’s contributions in the coming years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-591
Number of pages16
JournalCentral Asian Survey
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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