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Rustamjon Urinboyev

Associate professor

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Islamic legal culture in Uzbekistan


  • Rustam Urinboyev

Summary, in English

There was a widespread euphoria in the 1990s that introducing Western-style legal institutions and traditions would play a pivotal role in promoting the rule of law and democratization in post-Soviet societies. Like other post-Soviet states, Uzbekistan has become a ‘laboratory’ for testing various global (Western) good governance and rule of law initiatives. As a result of these interventions, Uzbekistan’s legal system represents a peculiar blend of Western and Soviet legal cultures: Western” from the “law in books” perspective (when we analyze its written laws and regulations) and “Soviet” from the “law in action” perspective (when observing how laws are applied and enacted by state institutions and officials). However, one dormant but highly salient legal order overlooked in the literature on Uzbekistan is the legacy of Islamic legal culture. With this in mind, this article explores the legacy and context of Islamic legal culture in Uzbekistan. I argue that the more the focus moves from state-centered understandings of law to ethnographic analyses of everyday life and micro-level social processes and structures, the more it becomes discernible that Islam serves as a legal order in Uzbekistan. These processes will be explored through the ethnographic study of mahallas (neighborhood communities) in Ferghana, Uzbekistan.


  • Department of Sociology of Law

Publishing year







Legal Pluralism and Critical Social Analysis





Document type

Journal article


Taylor & Francis


  • Law and Society


  • islam
  • legal culture
  • Uzbekistan
  • law and society




  • 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
  • Migration and Legal Cultures in Post-Soviet Societies: Ethnographic Study of Uzbek Migrant Workers and Their Families
  • Living Law and Political Stability in Post-Soviet Central Asia. A Case Study of the Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan


  • ISSN: 2770-6869