Ethnic boundaries in Kyrgyzstan- the place for preserving identity, sharing memories and initiating conflicts. Case study: Kurd and Dungan ethnic groups.
This thesis examines the lives of two ethnicities in Kyrgyzstan, their history of evolvement, territorial conditions and possibilities for inter-ethnic conflicts with the Kyrgyz majority, from the perspective of living within ethnic boundaries. For the comparative analysis I have chosen two minority groups: Kurds and Dungans. My main reason for choosing these ethnic groups in particular is their tendency to create ethnic boundary space and their involvements in inter-ethnic conflicts. (It is crucial to mention that these groups do not experience conflict with each other, but rather with other ethnic groups.) I propose that living in the village of one’s own ethnicity makes family ties stronger, preserves cultural features and helps members cope with outside problems, including interethnic conflicts. Since Kyrgyzstan is a polyethnic country, the closed ethnic communities may serve as both a source of conflict and as a shelter for minorities. My field work was conducted during the summer of 2015. I investigated why people live in specific areas, how they choose the territories they occupy, and how this relates to their everyday lives. Other questions I was interested in were: What are the particular challenges of living in an ethnically-bound community? Do community members feel discriminated against or anticipate possibilities for conflict situations among major groups and minor groups? I paid attention to these questions because closed communities and ethnic boundary space can be viewed as providing protection against possible clashes with other ethnic groups; furthermore, the sharing of culture could be seen as an advantage to living in such a community. I discovered that political and economic benefits provoke people to instigate conflict situations. However, while politics or economics are the real case for these conflicts, in the majority of cases, ethnicity functions as important kindling for causing conflict situations to flare up. Key words: identity, ethnic group, ethnic boundary, Kurds, Dungans
ForlagUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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