Reproducing Tashkent: Reconceptualising Transition from the Socialist City to the Post-Socialist City

  • Garrett Wolf

Student thesis: Phd


This study reconceptualises the process of transition in order to understand the dynamics of urbanisation in a post-socialist context, with the focus on the process of transition from Soviet to post-Soviet Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Against the dominant, academic, and expert narrative of "demodernisation", or the reduction of the post-socialist transition to economic, political, and societal regression, this dissertation offers an alternative conceptualisation and methodology of urban change in Tashkent between 1966 and 2016. Based on the theory of Henri Lefebvre and its subsequent, critical appropriations, this dissertation conceptualises urban change as the process of reproduction of space. Reproduction of space is understood as the negotiation of continuities and ruptures between the multiple practices of space production, including material, representational, and quotidian. In particular, reproduction of space is studied by focusing on the changing, historically specific relationships between "Uzbek" and "Soviet" practices of space production in three major buildings constructed after 1966 in Tashkent, and their afterlives during the post-socialist period: the Poytakht Business Centre, the Zhemchug Apartment Building, and the Chorsu Bazaar. Besides contributing to the architectural and urban history of Tashkent, this dissertation makes three conceptual and methodological contributions. First, it offers a framework for the rethinking of urban transition to and within the post-socialist contexts, challenging both the vision of a homogenous, Soviet urbanism and that of its reversal after the end of the Soviet regime. Second, by using archival research and ethnographic methods, this study develops Lefebvre's "regressive-progressive method" which combines the analysis of the present condition and practices of architecture and its users with changes to the building over time. Third, it shows how architecture can be studied not as a reflection of societal and urban change but as an instrumental participant in them.
Date of Award31 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAlbena Yaneva (Supervisor) & Lukasz Stanek (Supervisor)


  • Urbanisation
  • Reproduction of Space
  • Socialist City
  • Central Asia
  • Post-Socialist City
  • Uzbekistan
  • Architecture
  • Tashkent
  • Urban

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