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In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

This article reflects on how the concept of regionalism has been used to explain and interpret Central Asian politics since independence. It argues that regionalism, often a norm-laden analytical category based on Eurocentric assumptions, tends to paint the region as “failed” and regional states as incapable of institutionalizing multilateral relations. In its place, the article suggests the concept of order, which is more neutral and—through its focus on the operation of sovereignty, diplomacy, international law, authoritarianism, and great power management—is able to incorporate elements of both the conflict and cooperation that have marked the region’s politics since 1991.

Open Access
In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

This paper investigates how Chinese migrants are perceived by different groups in Kyrgyzstan—and in what domains local people turn to Sinophobia. To date, Kyrgyzstani political leaders have tended to be Sinophilic, whereas bazaar traders and ordinary citizens, fearing large inflows of Chinese migrants, are Sinophobic. The article paints a picture of Chinese migrants’ lives in Bishkek and their negative and positive experiences with local people. It concludes by demonstrating that lay people and radical nationalist groups alike deploy Sinophobic rhetoric in relation to China and Chinese immigrants living in Kyrgyzstan.

In: Central Asian Affairs
Author: Valerie Sartor

Abstract

This study provides an overview of how perceptions of the English language in Kazakhstan have altered over time due to political, economic, social and technological changes. The sociocultural framework includes language commodification and critical pedagogy concerning Indigenous languages; the methodological approach is narrative analysis combined with Bakhtin’s theory of dialogism. Three generational shifts were identified, each reflective of sociocultural changes that have occurred as Kazakhstan has transitioned from Soviet republic to modern Indigenous nation: from the Soviet Era/Soviet Man; to Independent Kazakhstan/Patriots and Outsiders; to Modern Kazakhstan/Young Cosmopolitans. The ongoing popularity of English may eventually threaten the Kazakh language.

In: Central Asian Affairs

Abstract

In this paper, we unpack the uchyot (“registration”) system using Foucault’s regime-based approach. Uchyot is a Soviet tool for controlling populations by requiring them to register personal information and then sharing this information with the relevant state institutions. This paper explores how uchyot is used to control drug users in Uzbekistan and Central Asian migrants in Russia. It argues that social and economic pressures, combined with strict policies, push unwanted citizens and migrants to engage in risky behaviors or into the shadows of informality and illegality.

In: Central Asian Affairs