Youth and 'The Movement' – Social Life in a Rural District of Buryatia

in Inner Asia
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Abstract

This article describes the development of criminal youth networks in rural Buryatia, Eastern Siberia. As it shows, the criminal gangs emerging out of the state collapse in the 1990s have colonised entire villages: a movement originally offering escape from a harsh economic environment has acquired the power to dictate the social reality of the regions it occupies. This piece also investigates the extent to which the practices mediating power relations within these criminal networks generate a distinct subculture, using Huizinga's analysis of culture as a 'game', which has to be 'played out' according to mutually understood conventions and norms.

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