Contingent Ethnicity in State(s) of Change: The Journey of Meskhetian Turks from the USSR to the Post-Soviet World.

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Overview

Title
Contingent Ethnicity in State(s) of Change: The Journey of Meskhetian Turks from the USSR to the Post-Soviet World.
Contributors
Koriouchkina, Elisaveta A. (creator)
Townsend, Nicholas (Director)
Kertzer, David (Reader)
Smith, Daniel (Reader)
Arel, Dominique (Reader)
Brown University. Anthropology (sponsor)
Doi
10.7301/Z02Z13RT
Copyright Date
2011
Abstract
In this dissertation, I examine issues of ethnic engineering, interethnic tensions and social problems through a story of Meskhetian Turks, a group that was subjected to a forced deportation during the Soviet period, suffered from interethnic violence in Fergana valley in 1989, and had been persistently denied Russian citizenship through the 90s. Anthropologically informed analysis of the history of this group illuminates the effects of the state on specifics of everyday life during the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Thus, the story of Meskhetian Turks is at the same time the story of the Soviet and post-Soviet state and offers a perspective on governance in Russia as a culturally and historically specific project. By creating a historically informed account of social processes that contributed to the formation of Meskhetian Turks as a group, I make three broad arguments:1) Processes of change taking place in Russia during the last decade of the 20th century were not chaotic or haphazard but were contingent on practices and attitudes that emerged during the Soviet period.2) Through memories of belonging people make sense of the changing world around them. In the post-Soviet world, they domesticate grand history explicating the political and preserving the private thereby preserving memories of the "Soviet". 2.1) A corollary to the first two points is that the state and its subjects mutually legitimate each other.3. The state's control over its people(s) is not absolute. Overview of Meskhetian Turks' history shows gaps in the state's management (imperfect taxonomies of ethnicity, loosening grip on migration, citizens' withdrawal into the sphere of kinship and domesticity) that fuel further change. Thus, while the state influences people's lives at the micro-level of the family and the household, its effects cannot be seen as determined entirely by the policy.Conclusions drawn from the story of the Meskhetian Turks can be extended to other groups as well and help one better understand complexities of societal changes that affected many other ethnic groups in the Soviet Union and beyond.
Keywords
Migration
Meskhetian Turks
Ethnicity
Notes
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2011)
Extent
xi, 237 p.

Citation

Koriouchkina, Elisaveta A., "Contingent Ethnicity in State(s) of Change: The Journey of Meskhetian Turks from the USSR to the Post-Soviet World." (2011). Anthropology Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z02Z13RT

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