“Paradoxes of Legitimation”: Authoritarianism(s) in modern Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan

24 May, 2018 @ 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
Room 412Q, Voesar Conference Room
1957 E st NW
DC 20052

Sofya Omarova,
Ph.D. candidate in International Politics and Sociology
Department of Social Sciences
Oxford Brookes University

This presentation seeks to explore the concepts of legitimacy and legitimation and how they relate to regime self-legitimation in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Legitimation and legitimacy in authoritarian contexts needs to be understood as a three-part process. The first concerns ‘inputs’: the narratives, discourses and claims of legitimation on behalf of the regime. The second aspect is the process of legitimation: the ways in which actors use and apply these claims in relation to a broader society. Finally, there are ‘outputs’: the extent to which the application of claims about the right to rule is ‘believed’ by the population. It is impossible to make generalized claims about the extent to which citizens in authoritarian states believe in the legitimacy of rulers because it is very difficult to discern genuine beliefs in such closed political contexts. Thus, the main focus is on conceptualizing authoritarian claims of self-legitimation.

The presentation is based on an upcoming book chapter from “Theorizing Central Asia” (Palgrave Macmillan), co-authored with Dr. Rico Isaacs (Reader in Politics, Oxford Brookes University).


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