Counter-extremism, power and authoritarian governance in Tajikistan

Helene Thibault, Edward Lemon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Counter-extremism has become an important tool for the authoritarian government of Tajikistan to consolidate its position. In this article, we argue that counter-extremism is not purely about destructive acts, such as banning groups or arresting individuals: it is productive, too. Using a Foucauldian understanding of disciplinary power and biopower, we argue that counter-extremism in Tajikistan is an attempt to produce secular, docile citizen subjects who are resistant to extremist ideas. Using ethnography and discourse analysis, we focus on the way in which these practices are gendered, targeting the bodies of those deemed ‘dangerous’. Counter-extremism, we argue, is exercised not only by the state but also by citizens, who monitor themselves and others for signs of radicalization. Although some support state secularism, most merely accept it. A smaller group resist practices that target certain forms of religious belief and practice. We explore these everyday forms of resistance against disciplinary power and biopower.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCentral Asian Survey
Publication statusPublished - Jun 30 2017


  • Tajikistan
  • counter-terrorism
  • gender
  • Islam
  • security
  • Foucault
  • secularism
  • Resistance

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