Shaming as a Form of Political Accountability in Kazakhstani Politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter conceptualizes public shaming as a regulatory mechanism in Kazakhstani politics. Finding its origin in the Soviet era’s public shaming and in the tradition of uyat, shaming can be used as way to make politicians accountable in the absence of competitive elections and limited freedom of speech. Shaming is used selectively as a tool to ensure compliance, punish insubordination, and to restore state legitimacy. A distinction is made between the shaming of high-raking officials during public assemblies and the shaming of low-ranking officials that takes place in the media following media leaks. In the first case, shaming is used as a tactic by powerful actors to criticize poor government performance, while at the same time, sparing the top leadership and keeping face. This kind of shaming is rarely followed by actual sanctions of faulty individuals. In the second scenario involving comprising information leaks, low-ranking officials are more likely to be dismissed and this kind of shaming is either used by opponents to discard rivals or by citizens to discreetly voice criticism against local politicians.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Uyat and the Culture of Shame in Central Asia
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-19-4328-7
ISBN (Print) 978-981-19-4327-0
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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