This book explores the conceptions of genealogy, kinship and ‘tribalism’ in the intertwined construction of personhood and national identity in the Kyrgyz Republic. It makes an important contribution to several theoretical and regional debates. First, it engages with broader anthropological literature. Genealogy, a central theme of the work, is explored not only as an analysis of relationships, but also as a methodological tool through which to examine society. Second, the book contributes to theories of kinship and the state. Research provides detailed accounts of Soviet and post-Soviet transformations, and their influence on people’s everyday lives. Third, the book fills a gap in Central/Inner Asian literature by focusing on social relations during a period of political upheaval.
"... Gullette's theoretical insights are sound and well designed. He carefully explores how genealogies are used to connect personal lives to the idea of the Kyrgyz state. His focus on the role of shame in social obligations of mutual assistance, and the following parallel with the use of shame in constructing national unity, is especially enlightening..."
Nienke van der Heide
Social Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale, Volume 20: Issue 2 (May 2012)