Social Changes in Kyrghyz Mortuary Practice

in Inner Asia
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Abstract

This article views changes in the rituals of death in the context of Kyghyzstan’s dramatic sociopolitical transformation from a clan-based society, through socialist modernisation, to the ill-defined post-Socialist present. Challenging Soviet ethnographic representations of mortuary ritual as ‘tradtional’ and timeless, the paper relates changes in ritual to changes in state ideology, ethnic identity and kinship practices. Particular attention is paid to gender concepts in the context of an examination of women’s graves. It is argued that women were associated with ‘the space of death’, but subsequent Soviet citizenship and educational policies changed both gender ideas and those associated with children.

Social Changes in Kyrghyz Mortuary Practice

in Inner Asia

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