Practices of Traditionalization in Central Asia focuses on how tradition is ‘everyday-ified’ in contemporary Central Asia, including Tatarstan and Tibet, and what people seek to achieve in its name. The case studies range from political demonstrations and industrial workers’ gatherings to institutions of religious education, minority communities, weddings, and the Internet.
In this volume we regard tradition as a practice that needs to be explored in its institutional and interactional context at a particular time, rather than as a reliable guide to the past: tradition can only be judged from the present; it is an interpretative concept, not a descriptive one. While the scholarly debate has so far centered on what tradition entails and what it does not, including the question of invention and ownership, less attention has been devoted to investigating how tradition is enacted, enforced, or motivated – in short, how it ‘gets done.’ In Central Asia, practices of traditionalization are closely related to the transformation of the socialist order and the emergence of highly stratified societies. This volume asks: When does tradition emerge as a line of argumentation, who are the actors invoking it and how is it being (materially) manifested?
Practices of Traditionalization in Central Asia will be of great interest to scholars of Central Asia, Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology. The chapters were originally published as a special issue of Central Asian Survey.
Practices of traditionalization in Central Asia
Judith Beyer and Peter Finke
1. Women of protest, men of applause: political activism, gender and tradition in Kyrgyzstan
Judith Beyer and Aijarkyn Kojobekova
2. Traditionalization, or the making of a reputation: women, weddings and expenditure in Tajikistan
3. The body global and the body traditional: a digital ethnography of Instagram and nationalism in Kazakhstan and Russia
Diana T. Kudaibergenova
4. The veterans’ gala: the use of tradition in an industrial labour conflict in contemporary Kazakhstan
5. Appropriating and contesting ‘traditional Islam’: Central Asian students at the Russian Islamic University in Tatarstan
6. Traditionalization as a response to state-induced development in rural Tibetan areas of Qinghai, PRC