Communal self-governance as an alternative to neoliberal governance: proposing a post-development approach to EU resilience-building in Central Asia

Publication Date: 
02 May 2022
Publication Language: 
Appearing in: 
Central Asian Survey

In the European Union’s (EU) new Strategy for Central Asia, which was launched in May 2019, boosting the resilience of Central Asian societies is singled out as a key priority. Drawing on post-development thinking, this article argues that if the EU is serious about promoting resilience to empower ‘the local’ and contribute towards a truly sustainable future for the societies of Central Asian countries, then the EU will need to embrace a de-centred, post-neoliberal approach to resilience. This implies that the EU would have to accept ‘the other’ – in this case, the Central Asian societies – for what they are and advocate home-grown self-organization based on a deep understanding of the local meaning of good life and local knowledge about the available resources. Empirical illustrations to substantiate this claim are drawn from a concrete case, namely the mahalla in Uzbekistan.

governance promotion; resilience; European Union; Central Asia and mahalla