Ethnographic Study of Privatisation in a Kyrgyz Village: Patrilineal Kin and Independent Farmers

in Inner Asia
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Abstract

It is widely known that Central Asian states in economic transition have been suffering from severe difficulties since their independence. Local people have coped with these difficulties partly by making good use of their social networks. To date, most anthropological studies carried out on this topic have been limited to looking primarily at single households and/or individuals. This paper also examines economic transition, focusing on the conditions of privatising a sovkhoz (state farm) in northern Kyrgyzstan, but it deals with wider kinship frameworks on the village level. First, to clarify the background of collectivisation in a village, I consider the social environment formed historically in the politico-economic contexts of the Soviet regime. Second, I analyse the stages of post-Soviet privatisation from the formation of transitional groups to the creation of independent farming enterprises in 1995–1996. In this paper, the correlation between economic reorganisation (collectivisation and privatisation) in the twentieth century and patrilineal descent subdivisions in the formerly nomadic areas of Kyrgyzstan are analysed and the roles and significance of patrilineal kinship in the economic transition of a Kyrgyz village are revealed.

Ethnographic Study of Privatisation in a Kyrgyz Village: Patrilineal Kin and Independent Farmers

in Inner Asia

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