Solid state: materialising 'territorial integrity' in a post-Soviet borderland
Dr Madeleine Reeves, ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change' at the University of Manchester
This presentation seeks to ask what 'territorial integrity' might look like as an object of ethnographic enquiry by examining the politicisation of a new - and as yet, not fully demarcated - international border between the post-Soviet Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.Its empirical point of entry is a phenomenon known in Kyrgyzstani political discourse as 'creeping migration', that is, the illegal purchase or lease of land and property in Kyrgyzstani border villages by citizens of neighbouring border villages in Tajikistan. Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork, the paper explores the dynamics of this phenomenon in its historical and political contexts, examining the legacies of Soviet delimitation and the contemporary political economy of land on both sides of the border that has rendered swathes of territory 'contested'. It is also concerned to understand the life that 'creeping migration' has come to acquire in contemporary Kyrgyzstani political discourse.
Part of the Post-Conflict & Post-Crisis R C Seminar Series (Links on the right hand of this page)