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Photo of Rustam

Rustamjon Urinboyev

Associate professor

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Navigating the Legal Uncertainty and Informality in Authoritarian Regimes: Legal Culture, Governance and Business Environment in Uzbekistan


  • Rustam Urinboyev
  • Erhan Dogan

Summary, in English

Academic debates on law and society relations in authoritarian regimes continue to revolve around issues of the dysfunctional legal system, corruption and informality, clientelistic legal culture, and how the authoritarian regimes in this region deploy law as a means for suppressing dissent. However, in this article, we argue that the legal landscape of authoritarian regimes should not be viewed from the “black-and-white” perspective. Rather, there is a need for a comprehensive account of how the state law and non-state forms of normative ordering engage in mutually transforming interactions and thereby shape the legal landscape of authoritarian regimes. By examining the law as a social field and legally plural phenomenon, our aim in this paper is to contribute, both empirically and theoretically, to scholarly debates on the role of law in authoritarian regimes by showing that the law is not merely a tool of authoritarian control and repression but various social groups and actors can also harness it for their own purposes depending on the context, time, location, opportunity and situation. These processes will be investigated by presenting ethnographic case studies from Uzbekistan, an archetypal authoritarian regime in Central Asia.


  • Department of Sociology of Law

Publishing year





Central Asian Affairs

Document type

Journal article




  • Law and Society
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • law and society
  • sociology of law
  • Uzbekistan
  • Central Asia
  • informality




  • Multilevel Orders of Corruption in Central Asia
  • Understanding Islamic Legal Culture and Migration through Ethnographic and Archival Research
  • Administrative Law Reform and Legal Integration in Hybrid Political Regimes
  • Legal Cultures and Business Environments in Central Asia
  • The Multilevel Orders of Corruption - Insights from a Post-Soviet Context
  • Living Law and Political Stability in Post-Soviet Central Asia. A Case Study of the Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan


  • ISSN: 2214-2282