The afterlife of industrialization: flows and transformations in Kyrgyzstan

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Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2023-07-10
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Ethnologie
Advisor: Polit, Karin (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2023-05-22
DDC Classifikation: 300 - Social sciences, sociology and anthropology
333.7 - Natural resources and energy
360 - Social problems and services; associations
Other Keywords:
Central Asia
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This dissertation examines layered transformations in a town in post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, as it has experienced the process of industrial restructuring and social change since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Through the lens of six critical events—the collapse of the Soviet order, significant infrastructure changes, delineation of new territorial borders, Islamization and the emergence of new media technologies—this study traces the transformative dynamics in the town’s post-industrial, post-Soviet development. More concretely, I examine a kaleidoscope of inter-related themes in Shamaldy-Sai, a locality that was a ‘high-socialist’ community constructing socialism in the thrall of utopian visions (Thrift 2004, Schwenkel 2020). The research objective is to examine how local communities have responded to major post-Soviet transformations and the ongoing flows of ideas, practices, and information that confront them. A small town, Shamaldy-Sai represents not only a deindustrialized periphery but is also a border town nestled on the transboundary Naryn River, itself the site of a ‘cascade’ of strategic hydropower plants. It is the place where the project of Soviet modernity unfolded in the 1950s and 1970s, promising a stable future — one in which, since the 1990s, after the collapse of industry and the Soviet regime, local communities have been left disoriented.

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