“Exploring Patterns of Regional and Inter-regional Cooperation: Central Asia, its Neighboring Countries and Europe”
The collaborative research project ?Patterns of Regional and Interregional Cooperation: Central Asia, its Neighboring Countries, and Europe" (2012-2015) aims at analyzing the political, economic, and social dynamics in Central Asian from a comparative and an inclusive regional perspective. Taking governance, transformation, and regionalization studies into account the project's focus is on the dynamics of governance in Central Asia including its perspectives in the ongoing decade. The project ? which is located at the Universities of Bielefeld, Dortmund and Giessen ? combines theoretical with empirical approaches and seeks to contribute to the research process from an interdisciplinary perspective. The Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan/Institute of History Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and the University of Central Asia/Aga Khan Foundation Dushanbe (Tajikistan) are the main regional research partners. By including the Chinese Autonomous Province of Xinjiang and the Indian State of Kashmir in the analysis and discussion of regional cooperation in Central Asia the project intends to broaden the scope of regional cooperation in Central Asia by looking at neighborhood policies and relations between China, India, and Central Asia. Also, the relations between Central Asia and neighboring Siberia/ Russia will be addressed. Based on an integrated understanding of Central Asia and its inner and outer cooperation structures and dynamics, the project aims at comparing Central Asian cooperation with regionalization patterns and dynamics in the European Union and wider Europe as well as analyzing the interregional cooperation between the two regions.
“Between Stability and Transformation: Regional and Transnational Cooperation in Central Asia and between Central Asia and Europe”
The project builds on the recently completed project ?Exploring Patterns of Regional and Interregional Cooperation? and is directed by Andreas Vasilache and Chiara Pierobon, both Bielefeld University, in cooperation with TU Dortmund University, German-Kazakh University (DKU) in Almaty/Kazakhstan, OSCE Academy Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan, and University of Central Asia/Aga Khan Foundation, Dushanbe/Tajikistan. It addresses the academic successor generation of Central Asian scholars and aims at their further qualification through a specific ?professionalization-through-research?-approach. More precisely, the project focuses on strengthening research capacities in Central Asia through research-oriented professionalization and training measures in the field of regional and inter-regional studies. The thematic emphasis lies on the simultaneity and tensions between transformation and stability patterns in the region and on the interrelation between institutional structures and societal initiatives and dynamics. The following interrelated conference activities are planned during the project: 1.) an international summer school at OSCE Academy in Bishkek/Kyrgyzstan, 2.) a seminar-series of three succeeding training seminars/workshops at the German-Kazakh University (DKU) in Almaty/Kazakhstan, and 3.) an international conference at University of Central Asia in Dushanbe/Tajikistan.
The research activities conducted at Bielefeld University deal with the examination of the stability-transformation continuum looking at civil societal dynamics and the contribution of international actors to the empowerment of civil society in Central Asia. At the one hand, by employing an interregional perspective, the study analyzes the influence exercised by the European Union in strengthening the non-profit sector by evaluating the extent to which its support fosters sustainable development in the target region. On the other hand, by employing a regional lens, the project analyzes state-civil society relations in a comparative way. In particular, it is concerned with similarities and divergences in the ways in which Central Asian regimes are engaged in preserving their stability through the establishment of more or less conducive environment for the development of the non-profit sector.
"Institutional Change and Social Practice. Research on the Political System, the Economy and Society in Central Asia and the Caucasus"
The project deals with the role of the marshrutka mobility phenomenon in the production of post-Soviet urban spaces, in and beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus. It provides an empirically founded contribution to the larger discussion on post-Soviet transformation, and fosters a still under-represented view on post-Soviet transformation, highlighting - through the lens of the marshrutka phenomenon - the bottom-up and everyday emergence of new orders in the fields of economy, morale, urban development and migration. The project is carried out by means of five complementary PhD projects under supervision of academic project partners; in addition, a post-doc based at the IfL in Leipzig is charged with a cross-cutting research project and ensures the conceptual coherence of the project. The project sees its outcomes in terms of a solid and sustainable transfer of knowledge and methods, from German partners towards the academic institutions in the target regions, and vice versa, strengthened local research capacities and infrastructures, and long-lasting research cooperation. To achieve these objectives, the partners will create an interdisciplinary research-practice learning environment consisting of comprehensive individual and network-wide training elements, helping thereby to educate self-reflexive specialists, and raise the employability of trained researchers in science, politics, public service, private business or civil society.