This article, using contemporary Kyrgyzstan as a case study, examines how state weakness is both reflected and reinforced at the citizens’ level. Based upon field research conducted in April and May 2007, we discuss three hypotheses. First, the inability of the state to provide essential goods and services and has deterred citizens’ willingness to fulfill their responsibilities such as paying taxes, respecting the laws, and serving in the army. Second, citizens have lost trust in their regime; some directly confront the state by joining demonstrations, strikes, and other protest activities. Finally, state weakness has negatively influenced the feeling of collective membership and reinforced sub-national identities. Declining loyalty is particularly evident among the citizens who have left the country in the prospect of better employment abroad.

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