State Ideology and the Legitimation of Authoritarianism: The Case of Post-Soviet Uzbekistan

Journal of Political Ideologies, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 209-232, June 2003

24 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2008 Last revised: 24 Nov 2008

See all articles by Andrew F. March

Andrew F. March

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Abstract

This article analyses the rhetorical legitimation strategy of post-Soviet Uzbekistan under Islam Karimov as an authoritarian state. I show that the most important mode of legitimation in this case is neither the consequentialist appeal to stability, order or welfare, nor a direct appeal to guardianship, i.e., special knowledge. Rather, Karimov and his court intellectuals seek to advance a conception of 'ideology' as the comprehensive pre-political consensus of the political community. Their concept of 'ideology' is used to advance a political logic whereby the nature of the political community, the purpose of the state, the unifying political telos and the present regime are fused into a single entity. This ontological fusion is presented as a hegemonic reality and occurs at the pre-political level, resulting in the vanishingly small space left over for politics that characterizes authoritarian systems. I then suggest that such analysis of the hegemonic strategy of authoritarian regimes, and above all the teleological conception of politics it advances, is a superior approach to authoritarian legitimation than the search for explicit 'consequentualist' versus 'principled' arguments.

Suggested Citation

March, Andrew F., State Ideology and the Legitimation of Authoritarianism: The Case of Post-Soviet Uzbekistan. Journal of Political Ideologies, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 209-232, June 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1300497

Andrew F. March (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts, Amherst ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

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