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Rustamjon Urinboyev

Senior Research Fellow


Research Areas

  • Corruption and Informality
  • Socio-Legal Approaches to Migration
  • Legal Culture
  • Islamic Public Administration
  • Central Asian Studies
  • Russian and Post-Soviet Studies

Current Research

Rustam works at the intersection of sociology of law and ethnography, analysing the role of law, legal institutions and informal ‘legal orders’ in weak rule-of-law societies (e.g. Russia, Uzbekistan). His current projects include:

1. Migration and Legal Cultures in Post-Soviet Societies:

This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council and explores the impact of migration and information and communication technologies (ICT) on legal cultures in post-Soviet societies. The project uses the ethnographic case study of Uzbek migrant workers in Russia. More information att Lund University research portal

2. Central Asian Migrants in Russia: Legal Incorporation and Adaptation in Hybrid Political Regimes, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (contract signed, forthcoming Fall 2019):

A book project on migrant illegality and informal integration strategies in Russia. I probe into the ways the migrant workers maneuver their life in the Russian legal system and among the police, immigration officials and border guards, and how they employ informal order-producing structures. Theoretically, I use the case of Russia – a hybrid political regime and the world's third largest recipient of migrants – to develop new theoretical perspectives on migrants’ legal incorporations and adaptations in hybrid political regimes. The study is based on my extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Moscow, Russia and Fergana region, Uzbekistan totalling a period of thirteen months in 2014-2017.

3. Law, Society and Corruption: Lessons from the Post-Soviet Context, Abingdon: Routledge (contract signed, forthcoming 2019):

A book project on the role of society’s informal norms and ‘non-monetary currencies’ in the emergence, explanation, persistence and ubiquitousness of corruption. It investigates corruption beyond the established paradigms, showing that that people engage in informal or illegal transactions not just to satisfy their economic needs but also to fulfil their family and kinship obligations, socialise and maintain membership in their community, avoid gossips and social sanctions and get more moral and affective support from those around them. The central argument of the book is that the measures and tools adopted to understand and combat corruption should go beyond a merely economistic view and (Western-centric) normative approaches and that, to convince people to act within the realms of state law, a structure replacing not only economic opportunity but also reducing the gap between state law and society’s informal norms and rules (the “living law”) should be put into place.

Second author on this book project: Associate Professor Måns Svensson


Selected Publications in English

  1. Informality currencies: a tale of Misha, his brigada and informal practices among Uzbek labour migrants in Russia (2016)
  2. Child Rights, Classroom and School Management: A Systematic Literature Review (2016)
  3. Living Law, Legal Pluralism, and Corruption in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan. The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law (2013)


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Photo of Rustam
E-mail: rustamjon [dot] urinboyev [at] soclaw [dot] lu [dot] se


Department of Sociology of Law

+46 46 222 37 99




Rustam Urinboyev is a senior research fellow at the Department of Sociology of Law. Rustam received his PhD in sociology of law for a thesis entitled: “Living Law and Political Stability in Post-Soviet Central Asia” (2013). His thesis explored the interconnections between informal economy, community-based traditional governance institutions and political stability, and has been published as a monograph with Media-Tryck/Lund University (2013). Rustam has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge, University of Helsinki, University of Copenhagen, Tallinn University of Technology and the University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Uzbekistan.

Sociology of Law Department
Lund University
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 18 C, 3rd floor, 223 62 Lund, SWEDEN
Postal address: Box 42, 221 00 Lund, SWEDEN

Faculty of Social Sciences