Exploring urban identities and community relations in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

The research project investigates the construction of urban identities and their relationships with processes and experiences of urban change in the Central Asian States of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It takes an ethnographic approach to explore people's experiences of everyday life and processes of identity construction in four cities across the region (Uzbekistan: Tashkent, Fergana; Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek, Karakol). The project focuses on the experiences of long-term residents and newly-arrived rural migrants in the four cities, and how they differently experience the changing environment of the city.

The research aims to make a valuable contribution to work on urban identities in Central Asia and beyond, providing an original perspective through its focus on 'everyday life'. Further, through the use of innovative research methods, it will contribute to methodological debates with respect to Central Asia and the wider post-Soviet region. The findings from the research will have a range of practical/policy-oriented applications, providing insights into, for example: causes, manifestations and interpretations of social exclusion; processes of internal, rural-urban migration; attitudes towards and tolerance of ethnic and cultural diversity.

Investigators

  • Dr Moya Flynn (leader) (CEES, University of Glasgow)
  • Dr Natalya Kosmarskaya (Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia)
  • Dr Guzel Sabirova (State University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg)

Dates

Initial grant: February 2007 - February 2010
Extension was granted until February 2013

Funder

Leverhulme Trust
Ref: F/00 179/AK

Selected Conference Presentations 2008-2013

  • Flynn, M. ‘Constructing the Rural “Other” in Post-Soviet Bishkek: ‘Host’ and ‘Migrant’ Perspectives’, GRAMNet Workshop ‘Intercultural Perspectives: Refugee, Asylum and Migration’, University of Glasgow, June 2012
  • Kosmarskaya, N. “Various Interpretations of Public Space in Urban Central Asia: Comparing Bishkek and Karakol’, Seminar, ‘Central Asia in a Terrible State? Issues and Methods’, Higher School of Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris, December, 2011
  • Kosmarskaya, N. ‘Ethnic Vs Non-Ethnic Divisions in a Post-SovietCity’, International Congress ‘Twenty Years Later (1991-2011): Reshaping of Space and Identity’, Moscow, September, October 2011
  • Kosmarskaya, N. ‘Post-Soviet Bishkek: Settlement, Identity, Conflict’, International conference ‘The Caucasus and Central Asia: Twenty Years After Independence’, Almaty, August, 2011
  • Flynn, M. ‘Perceptions of migration and migrants amongst 'long-term' residents in post-Soviet Bishkek: Narratives of contention and conflict’, Fourth CRCEES Research Forum, University of Glasgow, May 2011
  • Kosmarskaya, N. City as a Contested Space: Conceptualizing Relations between Migrants and Old Residents in Post-Soviet Bishkek, Fourth CRCEES Research Forum, University of Glasgow, May 2011
  • Sabirova, G. The Past and Future of/in Bishkek: City Images through Residents’ Stories, Fourth CRCEES Research Forum, University of Glasgow, May 2011
  • Sabirova, G. ‘Youth of Kyrgyzstan: Between Past and Future’, International Conference ‘Youth Solidarities in XXI century: Old Names, New Styles, Spaces and Practices’, Ul’ianovsk, Russia, August 2010
  • Sabirova, G. ‘The Construction of Place and the Placing of Food in a CentralAsianTown: A Case Study of Karakol’s Ash-lianfu’, Central Asian Section of the Annual Conference of the Eurasian Studies Association, Bishkek, August 2008
  • Kosmarskaya, N. ‘When Does Ethnicity Matter and Why? Popular Interpretations of Post-Soviet Change in a ProvincialCity of Kyrgyzstan’, Central Asian Section of the Annual Conference of the Eurasian Studies Association, Bishkek, August 2008. 

Publications