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Berlin, Germany

Roche S.,Zentrum Moderner Orient | Hohmann S.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Central Asian Survey | Year: 2011

This article argues that rituals are the creative link between state hegemony and the everyday practices of ordinary people. Based on the idea of ritual as experimental technology developed by the Comaroffs (1993), we analyse the Tajik wedding as a means to deal creatively with the tension between the nation-state's claims to exert control over its citizens, on the one hand, and the use of traditions as historical continuity to create a common identity, on the other. Whereas weddings conform to state law and have thus adapted to the changing legal frames during the Soviet period and continue to do so in independent Tajikistan, they have also been used as rituals of cultural resistance in which ethnic, local and national identities are asserted against homogenizing efforts. Taking an historical perspective on weddings, this article contributes to the debate on the role of rituals in the creation and contestation of national identity and state ideologies. © 2011 Central Asian Survey.

Feaux De La Croix J.,Zentrum Moderner Orient
Central Asian Survey | Year: 2011

Based on anthropological fieldwork between 2006 and 2008, this article compares how people in the Toktogul region of Kyrgyzstan understand and interact with water in three highly significant places: mountain pastures (jailoos), the Toktogul hydroelectric dam that controls the flow of the Naryn and sacred sites (mazars). Sidelining the vast standing waters of Toktogul Reservoir, valley residents instead highlight the positive qualities of flowing water at mazars, pastures and the working dam. Contrasting how metaphors of running water are put to use conceptually by Toktogul residents and social scientists opens up a critique of current academic and policy-oriented descriptions of the world as flow. Attention to a particular kind of movement (flowing water) highlights some of the silent assumptions in current depictions of a mobile world in flux. © 2011 Copyright Southseries Inc.

This article discusses the temporalities of development and local politics in the context of the Yusufeli Dam project in Artvin, Turkey. Once finished, the project will lead to the submergence of the Yusufeli town center and 19 villages, the relocation of at least 20,000 people and the destruction of all agricultural land. The threat of destruction and eviction has in the past led to the mobilization of the residents of Yusufeli to establish alliances with international NGOs which successfully prevented the start of the project for more than a decade. More recently however, the earlier activist energy in the town gradually fizzled out to give way to the rise of bargaining with the state as the dominant form of political action. To be able to understand this shift from collective opposition to negotiation, I propose to study the spatio-temporal changes and sensibilities that dam planning, finance and construction elicit and become entangled with. If development materializes partly through the desires and emotional attachments of its target populations, I argue, then material and moral engagements of the local residents with past, present and future condition their political responses. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Ismailbekova A.,Zentrum Moderner Orient
Central Asian Survey | Year: 2014

Migration processes in Kyrgyzstan have given rise to fundamental social and demographic changes, meaning that many villages and town quarters are inhabited nowadays solely by women, children and the elderly, whereas younger and middle-aged men live as migrants elsewhere. This article explores the role of women in the maintenance of a strong patrilineal descent system, in the absence of their husbands or sons. This is achieved by grandmothers who play a significant role in transmitting oral genealogies and passing stories on to their children. Another role of women lies in changing the names of male relatives of their husbands; while appointing whom one should marry is also of great importance. The role of mothers-in-law in the formation of their sons' marriage ties in the latter's absence points to the powerful positions of these women. The final point is that young brides continue to live with their parents-in-law - even if their husband does not - and they must be respectful brides. © 2014 © 2014 Southseries Inc.

Feaux De La Croix J.,Zentrum Moderner Orient
Central Asian Survey | Year: 2013

The development industry has moved from concepts of aid and technical assistance to the idea that closing gaps in people's knowledge is the most effective way of alleviating poverty and injustice. My data show the means through which this knowledge transfer is actually supposed to happen. I examine the micro-politics of development: the role and agency of development workers, who are so frequently employed to conduct training on a wide range of topics affecting citizens' well-being, such as conflict prevention or sustainable agricultural practices. This paper draws on ethnographic research between 2010 and 2012 with Kyrgyzstani NGO workers to analyse the side-effects of development, such as the creation of a new social class and softening age hierarchies. I examine the widespread conviction among trainers that education can solve most social ills, and their concepts of how knowledge, sometimes in the guise of ideologiya, shapes people. I argue that this faith in knowledge reflects both the life course of NGO workers themselves and what they can offer from within the knowledge transfer paradigm. An understanding of the friction between different expectations of knowledge content, teaching relationships and aims in creating well-being is not only essential to a critical reflection on these development efforts but also illuminates wider political and social processes and relationships, such as expectations of the state and international community. © 2013 © 2013 Southseries Inc.

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