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.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: contested trajectories and a dynamic approach to place Madeleine Reeves Incomplete Spatialization 2. Friendship under lock and key: the Soviet Central Asian border, 1918–34 Charles Shaw 3. Humans as territory: forced resettlement and the making of Soviet Tajikistan, 1920-38 Botakoz Kassymbekova 4. Settlement promoted, settlement contested: the Shcherbina Expedition of 1896–1903 Ian W. Campbell 5. Vanguard of ‘socialist colonization’? The Krasnyi Vostok expedition of 1920 Robert Argenbright Doing Place 6. Settling descent: place making and genealogy in Talas, Kyrgyzstan Judith Beyer 7. Claiming an ancestral homeland: Kazakh pilgrimage and migration in Inner Asia Eva-Marie Dubuisson and Anna Genina 8. Moving metaphors we live by: water and flow in the social sciences and around hydroelectric dams in Kyrgyzstan Jeanne Féaux de la Croix 9. The accidental traders: marginalization and opportunity from the southern republics to late Soviet Moscow Jeff Sahadeo 10. Leaving to enable others to remain: remittances and new moral economies of migration in southern Kyrgyzstan Eliza Isabaeva 11. Staying put? Towards a relational politics of mobility at a time of migration Madeleine Reeves
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.