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The Genealogical Construction of the Kyrgyz Republic (Inner Asia)

David Gullette University of Cambridge

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ISBN 10: 190687610X / ISBN 13: 9781906876104
Published by BRILL/Global Oriental, 2010
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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Title: The Genealogical Construction of the Kyrgyz ...

Publisher: BRILL/Global Oriental

Publication Date: 2010

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title


In this important new study on the peoples of the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan), David Gullette exposes significant misconceptions that have hitherto shaped Western understanding about the role of kinship in Kyrgyz society and offers new insights into notions of relatedness.

Since independence in 1991, allegations of 'tribalism' have raised concerns in the West that 'tribal' divisions had re-emerged and were obstructing the development of democracy. The chaos of the 2005 `Tulip Revolution' seemingly confirmed this. Through detailed research, however, Gullette demonstrates that there were no 'tribal' divisions as such; instead, there were numerous self-seeking networks fixated on achieving personal goals. Moreover, he finds that perceptions of former nomadic societies had been conditioned by tsarist, Soviet and Western kinship studies based on an evolutionary view of society.

In a paradigmatic shift, Gullette analyses how people's exploration of genealogy serves to establish relatedness between groups and individuals through shared memories of ancestors, but not to define social structure. His examination of personal accounts of honouring ancestors and fulfilling family obligations reveals how moral values are transmitted through genealogies and how social relations are maintained to receive help through family networks.

History, which shapes memories, became the vehicle for a national campaign through which former President Askar Akaev adapted these relations to create an ethnic and state ideology of unity. By introducing and exploiting national celebrations, the former president not only advanced the ideals of the republic, but also introduced elements of self-discipline. Gullette utilizes genealogy to explore the contexts in which these celebrations were conducted and the value placed on them for the Akaev regime's longevity.

Students of anthropology, international relations and political science, as well as those interested in regional studies, will welcome the solid analytical and theoretical structure of this book.

About the Author:

David Gullette is a social anthropologist and expert on Central Asia. He is an Affiliated Researcher to the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge. Since 2000, he has conducted research and work on social, economic and political issues in Kyrgyzstan. He has written a number of articles, appearing in journals such as Central Asian Survey.

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