Coping Strategies: Public Avoidance, Migration, and Marriage in the Aftermath of the Osh Conflict, Fergana Valley by Aksana Ismailbekova
26 July 2012
UCA Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
: Aksana Ismailbekova, Research Fellow, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin (Germany)
Date: 26 July 2012. 16:00
Venue: University of Central Asia, 138 Toktogul Street, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. Conference Room.
This presentation examines the dynamic survival strategies of ethnic Uzbeks living in Osh, Kyrgyzstan in the aftermath of mass violent conflict in Osh in June 2010. While both Kyrgyz and Uzbeks suffered in June 2010, this lecture focuses on the difficulties faced by Osh Uzbeks after the tragic events. The Kyrgyz government used economic and political pressure to isolate minority groups from the titular nationality, and this opened the door to mistreatment of minorities in the form of the seizure of properties, job losses, and even verbal and physical abuse. Despite this mistreatment, Uzbeks are reluctant to leave.
They have a long history of living in the Osh region and have strong emotional and historical sentiments that bind them to the region and its graveyards and sacred sites. Uzbeks have therefore had to develop alternative ways to cope with the insecurity of their situation. They have adopted coping strategies which both reinforce their vulnerability, and provide security for their children during post-conflict reconstruction.
These strategies include avoidance of public spaces and public attention, marrying daughters early, and sending male family members to Russia as labour migrants. These mechanisms aim to protect the honour of the community, maintain social networks, and preserve Uzbek identity without attracting attention. Uzbeks describe this approach as sabyrli ‘patient.’ This presentation is based on ethnographic research conducted in Osh in 2011.
Aksana Ismailbekova is currently a research fellow at Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), Berlin, and a member of the competence network Crossroads Asia project 2011–14. She received her PhD in 2012 from the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPI), Germany. In 2005, she was awarded the joint Chevening/Open Society Institute/Edinburgh scholarship to study Social Research at University of Edinburgh (Scotland) where she graduated with a Masters in Science.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the American University-Central Asia (AUCA) in Kyrgyzstan. Her academic interests stem from research projects in Kyrgyzstan on kinship and politics, translocal ties, conflict and migration. Her most current research project focuses on translocal ties of social actors that link Pakistan (South Asia) with Kyrgyzstan (Central Asia).
The presentation will be conducted in English. Russian translation provided upon prior request.