This book is based upon a series of research studies undertaken by local research institutes, academics and NGOs in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan between 1999 and 2003. The studies had a dual aim: firstly, to deepen understanding of the dynamics of civil society development in these countries, and secondly, to strengthen local institutions’ research capacity in data collection and analysis. Drawing on the findings of these studies and placing them within the wider body of programmatic experience and research undertaken by INTRAC and its local partners since 1994, this book will provide insight into the way in which civil society has developed during the period of Central Asian independence to date. Maintaining a critical stance and acknowledging the complexity of Central Asian realities, it examines how civil society has been shaped, hindered and enriched by internal and external forces, both contemporary and historical. Combining findings from empirical case studies with analysis of relevant literature, this book is both an investigation into the specificities of Central Asian civil societies and a broader examination of the emergence of civil society in ‘transition’ countries.