This article combines oral histories with documents from family and public archives to re-assemble fragments of a Tashkent family history, and it uses Bourdieu’s theses on social reproduction and cultural capital to analyze the ways that this family repurposed its status-seeking decisions in changed political circumstances. Beginning with the author’s effort to document an ancestor who served as a shine-keeper, the article explores what became of that religious role as successive generations turned to new sources of cultural capital. Evidence shows the author’s grandmother’s elision of her lineage, simultaneous reinforcement of her traditional social status, and embrace of the role of Soviet teacher and intellectual. Soviet period repression led some families to destroy lineage documents, and to recount the past in selective ways. The author’s research partially reconstructs the strategies of a Tashkent family who transferred, hid, and reconfigured its cultural capital.
Most studies on transitions to democracy focus on macro-level factors, while Przeworski considers people as the most important factor and emphasizes looking at the ruling class and civil society. Softliners within the ruling class may aim to choose to open up the system to increase political stability and ensure the survival of the existing regime. The paper aims to test whether liberalization indeed increases political stability in the Central Asian context. By performing the empirical analyses, one can find out that liberalization results in political stability in Central Asia.
Urban development in contemporary Kazakhstan diverges from official policy and procedure. Through the exploration of a case study in Astana (until recently Nur-Sultan), the capital, this research reveals how activists are organizing to preserve natural space and thwart development. An activist-expert coalition is currently engaged in a drawn-out effort to preserve Small Taldykol, a natural space for recreation and leisure which is part of a lake system within Astana. The proposed plan includes draining this lake, the development of housing complexes, a tourism complex, and an eco-park. Using Miraftab’s invented spaces of participation and Ong’s exceptions to neoliberalism, this research explores how urban activists use the space created by deviations from development policy processes, orchestrated by developers and officials within the city and national government, in Small Taldykol’s development. These exceptions provide an opportunity for activists to organize, engage with other stakeholders, and to impact Small Taldykol’s fate.