Blogging Zhanaozen: hegemonic discourse and authoritarian resilience in Kazakhstan
Central Asian Survey
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Reason for embargo
Post-Soviet authoritarian regimes – particularly in Central Asia – have proved highly resilient since independence. Existing explanations for regime longevity should be augmented by consideration of non-material, discursive sources of political legitimacy. A robust authoritarian regime requires the production and circulation of a hegemonic discourse that is internalized by influential social groups. This type of dominant discourse has emerged in Kazakhstan, making it difficult for political opponents to promote alternative political imaginaries and mobilize popular support. State control over media is challenged by Internet-based platforms, but in Kazakhstan social media and blogging have also offered an opportunity for the regime to reproduce its own hegemonic discourse. This article uses a discourse analysis of posts by bloggers in the aftermath of a violent conflict in Zhanaozen in Kazakhstan in 2011 to demonstrate how central elements in the state discourse are reproduced online, even by independent bloggers, suggesting that an official discourse has the ability to maintain its hegemonic status despite widespread use of blogs and social media.
This work was partially supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant no. ES/J013056/1).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis (Routledge) via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 35 (3), pp. 421 - 438