Central Asian academics are therefore creating the meaning of organized knowledge the post-Soviet ‘transition’, not by fulfilling a monolithic and teleological process, but by negotiating epistemological histories with existential conditions and value orientations, all within the context of changes in the global relations of science. This process is particularly visible in the everyday practices of sociologists working to create, develop and reform university departments in the region. The following sections explore the post-Soviet history of two sociology departments in Kyrgyzstan, one at the Bishkek Humanitarian University (BHU) and the other at the American University-Central Asia (AUCA). They are similar in so far as both consider themselves to be leading departments in the field; both also emerged as part of the post-independence growth in the social sciences and share a common project of institutionalization. Both are expected to design and

stabilize programmes for awarding academic degrees with extremely limited time and material and cultural resources (Ablezova 2003; Sagynbaeva 2003). The demand for ‘instant institutions’ stems in part from developmentalist discourses of institution building (Sakwa 1999), but also from sociologists’ own theories about the conditions for institutionalizing a ‘mature’ version of social science. At these levels, the departments share a common socio-historical experience.