Leadership and Authority in Central Asia
An Ismaili Community in Tajikistan
To Be Published January 1st 2014 by Routledge – 240 pages
Series: Central Asia Research Forum
This book analyses the ways in which expressions of political and religious authority have evolved and how they have been adapted to different political contexts in Central Asia. It offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the Ismaili community in Tajikistan, identifies traditional forms of religious authority within the network of religious functionaries at a range of levels and introduces the functionaries of Ismaili political leaders that have evolved through time.
Initially, political leadership and religious authority were linked until the 1920s. Under Soviet rule, traditional norms of leadership and authority in the region were replaced by a secular nationalist yet indigenous leadership that was closely tied to central Soviet power. These changes followed a series of radical social and political upheavals.
Skilfully applying an interdisciplinary approach – drawing on historical sources, including unpublished materials, and ethnographic fieldwork data collected through interviews – and a perceptive analysis of political theories of leadership in communist and post-communist societies, this book challenges the ways religious and secular categories have been distinguished in recent scholarship. It develops a structural explanation for the survival of religious and political authorities of Badakhshani Ismailis and will be of interest to scholars of Muslim societies, Political Science and Central Asian Studies.
1. Introduction 2. Concepts of Leadership and Authority and Their Impact on Society 3. The Authority of Religious Leaders in Badakhshan in the pre-Soviet Period 4. Ismaili Leaders in the Period of Transition from the pre-Soviet to Soviet periods 5. Political Leadership and the Ismailis During the Soviet Period 6. Tajik Civil War and the Ismailis 7. The Modern Vision of Leadership of the Ismailis 8. Conclusion
Otambek Mastibekov received his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He currently works for the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations, London, UK.