Post-Soviet restructurings in the agricultural and social sectors exerted pressure on the livelihood situation of the Uzbek rural population. The sovkhoz/ kolkhoz had been an overarching organisation which locally organised not only agrarian production. It also served as a local administration, regulated the distribution of centrally provided social goods and services and thus guaranteed basic social security to its members. Its disintegration must have introduced dynamics of community change which go beyond the mere organisational aspects of production and social security. Together with political and economic frameworks the whole ensemble of local communities' imminent social structures is subject to change. But in this regard, village communities in the rural areas of Surkhondarya feature very distinct developments. They strongly differ in present local governance patterns and the role of the state as an actor holding a stake in these: In the cotton area where the state has strong interest in the maintenance of proven production patterns and thus an adherence to Soviet structural and institutional frameworks, the population in terms of social security still benefits from a collective-like and locally embedded agricultural production system. This bolstered the stability of social order shaped by a worldview based on a 'collective identity'. The mahalla as a newly introduced (self-)administration in the local arena could establish as a mediator between the state, the local farmers and the population and is of strong relevance in the governance of local affairs. Together with the new private agricultural producers it inherited the organisational and social functions of the kolkhoz. In contrast, the mountainous area - due to the absence of a highly state-regulated production system a politically and economically peripheral region - exhibits the emergence of a relatively liberal economic system under an environment of political self-regulation. A collective kolkhoz-identity has vanished. The mahalla plays only a marginal role in the local setting and did not find its standing in an adapting social order.
Uzbekistan Social Order Local Governance Mechanisms of Social Security Post-Soviet Developments Mahalla State-Local Relationships Post-Soviet Community