This first detailed "grass roots" account of Uzbekistan's protracted decollectivisation process explores continuity and change in the relations between rural communities, agricultural producers and local state authorities in the cotton-growing region of Khorezm. Built up during the Soviet period, the cotton sector has maintained its importance for the state and for rural communities in the years after independence, although economic parameters and social conditions have worsened significantly. Uzbekistan's agricultural reform path does not follow that of most postsocialist scenarios and continuity with the past remains strong. Despite seeming immobility, the local view on rural society presented in this book unveals an unexpectedly dynamic situation, characterised by shifts in patronage relations, struggles over legitimacy, transformations in family structure and community life. Poised between the state, their communities and an emerging stratum of absentee farm "sponsors", the focus of Trevisani's analysis is on the new farmers ("fermer") and their struggles for a place in rural society. What emerges from decollectivisation is a complexely articulated new agrarian question: its new inequalities are rooted in the political economy of cotton.