Keeping the Road Open: Waiting, Migrating and Domestication of Hope in Kyrgyzstan

This talk explores the relationship between waiting, leaving, house-building and hope in the context of contemporary Kyrgyz transnational migration.
  • Madeleine Reeves, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
    Piano Lounge, Graham House, Green College, UBC

    Thursday, March 24, 5-6:30 pm
    in the series
    Eurasian States and Societies: Past and Present
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  • This talk explores the relationship between waiting, leaving, house-building and hope in the context of contemporary Kyrgyz transnational migration. How, and why is it, that despite the very real hardship that is recognized to accompany migration and the ever-present risk that after years of work abroad one might still return empty handed, migration nonetheless comes to be seen as the necessary precondition for a properly future-oriented existence in Kyrgyzstan? Critically engaging debates about hope, futurity and temporal agency, Madeleine argues that part of the appeal of migration for families in rural Kyrgyzstan is that it serves to expand the horizons of possibility in a context where the immediate future is envisioned as radically unstable.

    Madeleine focuses on two strategies that figured during my fieldwork central to this practical and imaginative work of ‘keeping the road open’: house-building, particularly for newly-married sons, and ‘doing up a passport’ (passport kyluu): that is, the purchase of Russian passport and the (official, at least) revocation of one’s Kyrgyzstani citizenship. Such strategies, Madeleine suggests, point to a paradox at the heart of contemporary Kyrgyzstani migration: the vast majority of my interlocutors spoke of labour migration in Russia as a temporary process that would ultimately create the conditions for meaningful family life in Kyrgyzstan. Yet such possibilities are increasingly seen to be contingent, not just upon a (potentially indefinite) period of labour far from home, but on a displacement of political membership: the ceding of Kyrgyzstani citizenship in favour of the Russian citizenship that guarantees better working conditions abroad, and which protects against the risk of deportation. 

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  • Unless otherwise noted, all of our lectures are free to attend and do not require registration.

 

When
March 24th, 2016 5:00 PM   through   6:30 PM
Location
Piano Lounge
6201 Cecil Green Park Road
Green College, UBC
Vancouver, BC V6T1Z1
Canada
Contact
Phone: 604-822-8660
Email:
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Speaker Series Eurasian States and Societies: Past and Present
Short Title Waiting, Migrating and Domestication of Hope
Speaker (new) Madeleine Reeves, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
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Speaker Affiliation School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
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