1st Edition

Movement, Power and Place in Central Asia and Beyond Contested Trajectories

Edited By Madeleine Reeves Copyright 2012
    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Central Asia is a region singularly marked by attempts to transform social life by transforming place. Drawing together established scholars and a new generation of historians, geographers and anthropologists, this volume brings empirical specificity and theoretical depth to debates about the politics of place-making in this diverse region, making an important contribution to Central Asian studies and a distinctive regional comparison to the ‘spatial turn’ in social analysis.

    Case studies draw on archival research and oral history to explore the workings—and unintended consequences—of policies aimed at sedentarizing, collectivizing and resettling populations as a means to fix and territorialize space. The book also examines ethnographic studies attuned to the role of movement in sustaining social life, from Soviet-era trade networks that linked rural Central Asia and the Russian metropolis, to pilgrimage routes through which ‘kazakhness’ is articulated, to the contemporary moralization of migration abroad in search of work.

    Rather than analysing ‘flows’ as abstract processes, the book enquires about effortful activity, material infrastructures, political relations and social habits through which people, ideas, knowledge, skills and material objects move or are prevented from moving. As such, it offers new insights into the complex intersections of movement, power and place in this important region over the last two centuries.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of Central Asian Survey.

    1. Introduction: Contested trajectories and a dynamic approach to place, Madeleine Reeves, University of Manchester.

    Part I: Incomplete spatialisation

    2. Friendship under Lock and Key: the Soviet Central Asian border, 1918-1934, Charles Shaw, Stanford University.

    3. Territorializing Tajikistan: Forced resettlement and the bordering of the Soviet empire-state in the 1920s and 1930s, Botagoz Kassymbekova, Humboldt University.

    4. Empire promoted, empire contested: the Shcherbina expedition of 1896-1903, Ian Campbell, University of Michigan.

    5. Vanguard of "Socialist Colonization?" The Krasnyi Vostok Expedition of 1920, Robert Argenbright, University of Utah.

    Part II: Doing place

    6. Settling descent: Place-making and genealogy in Talas, Kyrgyzstan, Judith Beyer, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle-Saale.

    7. Claiming an Ancestral Homeland: Kazakh Pilgrimage and Migration in Inner Asia, Eva-Marie Dubuisson and Anna Genina, University of California, Berkeley and University of Michigan

    8. When we think through flow: contrasting meanings of water in the social sciences, at Kyrgyz hydro-dams, pilgrimage sites and pastures, Jeanne Féaux de la Croix, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin.

    9. The Accidental Traders: Marginalization and Opportunity from the Southern Margins to Late Soviet Moscow, Jeff Sahadeo, Carleton University.

    10. Leaving to enable others to remain: Remittances and New Moral Economies of Migration in Southern Kyrgyzstan, Eliza Isabaeva, University of Berne.

    11. Staying put: on the gendered politics of im/mobility at a time of migration, Madeleine, Reeves University of Manchester.


    Madeleine Reeves is an RCUK Research Fellow in Conflict Cohesion and Change at the University of Manchester. She teaches in the Department of Social Anthropology and is a member of the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change.