Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas
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186 pages

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This collection brings together a variety of anthropological, historical and sociological case studies from Central Asia and the Caucasus to examine the concept of translocality. The chapters scrutinize the capacity of translocality to describe, in new ways, the multiple mobilities, exchange practices and globalizing processes that link places, people and institutions in Central Asia and the Caucasus with others in Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates.

Illuminating translocality as a productive concept for studying cross‐regional connectivities and networks, this volume is an important contribution to a lively field of academic discourse. Following new directions in Area Studies, the chapters aim to overcome ‘territorial containers’ such as the nation‐state or local community, and instead emphasize the significance of processes of translation and negotiation for understanding how meaningful localities emerge beyond conventional boundaries.

Structured by the four themes ‘crossing boundaries’, ‘travelling ideas’, ‘social and economic movements’ and ‘pious endeavours’, this volume proposes three conceptual approaches to translocality: firstly, to trace how it is embodied, narrated, virtualized or institutionalized within or in reference to physical or imagined localities; secondly, to understand locality as a relational concept rather than a geographically bounded unit; and thirdly, to consider cross‐border traders, travelling students, business people and refugees as examples of non-elite mobilities that provide alternative ways to think about what ‘global’ means today.

Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas will be of interest to students and scholars of the anthropology, history and sociology of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as for those interested in new approaches to Area Studies.



Publié par
Date de parution 17 avril 2018
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781783743360
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 4 Mo

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Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas
Rethinking Translocality Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus
Edited by Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Philipp Schröder
© 2018 Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Philipp Schröder.
Copyright of individual chapters is maintained by the chapters’ authors.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0). This license allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work; to adapt the work and to make commercial use of the work providing attribution is made to the author (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). Attribution should include the following information:
Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Philipp Schröder, eds., Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas: Rethinking Translocality Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus . Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2018.
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Updated digital material and resources associated with this volume are available at
Every effort has been made to identify and contact copyright holders and any omission or error will be corrected if notification is made to the publisher.
This work is part of the research project ‘Translocal Goods — Education, Work, and Commodities between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China, and the Arab Emirates’ [grant number: Az. 86870], which has been funded by the VolkswagenStiftung (Volkswagen Foundation), 2013–2017.
ISBN Paperback: 978-1-78374-333-9
ISBN Hardback: 978-1-78374-334-6
ISBN Digital (PDF): 978-1-78374-335-3
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 978-1-78374-336-0
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 978-1-78374-337-7
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0114
Cover image: Road between Nurek and Hubuk (2016). Photo by Hans Birger Nilsen, CC BY-SA 2.0. Flickr,
Cover design: Anna Gatti.
All paper used by Open Book Publishers is SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative), PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) and Forest Stewardship Council(r)(FSC(r) certified.
Printed in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia by Lightning Source for Open Book Publishers (Cambridge, UK)

Nathan Light
Introduction: Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus: A Translocal Perspective
Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Philipp Schröder
Part 1: Crossing Boundaries: Mobilities Then and Now
Emigration Within, Across, and Beyond Central Asia in the Early Soviet Period from a Perspective of Translocality
Kamoludin Abdullaev
Crossing Economic and Cultural Boundaries: Tajik Middlemen in the Translocal ‘Dubai Business’ Sector
Abdullah Mirzoev and Manja Stephan-Emmrich
Part 2: Travelling Ideas: Sacred and Secular
Sacred Lineages in Central Asia: Translocality and Identity
Azim Malikov
Explicating Translocal Organization of Everyday Life: Stories From Rural Uzbekistan
Elena Kim
A Sense of Multiple Belonging: Translocal Relations and Narratives of Change Within a Dungan Community
Henryk Alff
Part 3: Movements from Below: Economic and Social
‘New History’ as a Translocal Field
Svetlana Jacquesson
Informal Trade and Globalization in the Caucasus and Post-Soviet Eurasia
Susanne Fehlings
The Economics of Translocality — Epistemographic Observations from Fieldwork on Traders In(-Between) Russia, China, and Kyrgyzstan
Philipp Schröder
Part 4: Pious Endeavours: Near and Far
iPhones, Emotions, Mediations: Tracing Translocality in the Pious Endeavours of Tajik Migrants in the United Arab Emirates
Manja Stephan-Emmrich
Translocality and the Folding of Post-Soviet Urban Space in Bishkek: Hijrah from ‘Botanika’ to ‘Botanicheskii Jamaat’
Emil Nasritdinov
Afterword: On Transitive Concepts and Local Imaginations — Studying Mobilities from a Translocal Perspective
Barak Kalir
Notes on Contributors


© M. Stephan-Emmrich and P. Schröder, CC BY 4.0
This book marks the end of a very pleasant intellectual journey for us. It began in spring 2013, when we started our research project with the admittedly technical title Translocal Goods — Education, Work, and Commodities Between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China, and the Arab Emirates . We aspired to explore new ways in which the exchange relations of mobile actors from Central Asia redefine their own (emic) as well as our (analytic) understanding about identity, ethnicity and Islam as they extend beyond common ‘containers’ of local community, nation state and regional setting. Within that conceptual frame, three individual scientific efforts each dealt with quite distinct themes: Studying Islam Abroad — Students’ Mobility, Life-Chances and Translocal Muslim Practice in-between Tajikistan and the Arab World (Manja Stephan-Emmrich) The ‘ China-Business’ — An Ethnography of Kyrgyz Traders and their Translocal Livelihoods in-between ‘ Home’, China, and Russia (Philipp Schröder) Translocal Hijab — The Producing, Distributing and Consuming of Religious Clothing in-between Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates (Abdullah Mirzoev)
We have presented in detail the concepts and empirical data associated with these projects in an earlier publication (Schröder and Stephan-Emmrich 2014), as well as in the introductory chapter to this volume. But academia can only thrive to the degree it is supported by a generous institutional structure. In that regard, we could not have found a better partner than the Volkswagen Foundation (VolkswagenStiftung), and in particular the program Between Europe and the Orient — A Focus on Research and Higher Education in/on Central Asia and the Caucasus. Until 2017, the funding provided by the Volkswagen Foundation enabled us not only to conduct our individual ethnographic fieldwork in Central Asia, Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates, but also to engage actively within various circles of the scientific community.
One such key event was a workshop held in Bishkek ( Kyrgyzstan) in April 2015, which we jointly organized with our main local partner, the American University of Central Asia. Over three days, our group of participants intensively discussed draft papers that approached the notion of ‘ translocality’ from all kinds of disciplinary, theoretical and methodological angles.
Since then these early texts have been developed into full-fledged chapters, due in no small part to our invited discussant, Barak Kalir of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As someone who shares our interest in mobility studies, but also draws from extensive research experience outside of Central Asia, his intuitive commentary provided the authors with a fresh perspective, challenging them to think beyond conventional approaches in their disciplines or focus areas. We are very grateful that Barak agreed to condense his thoughts on the contributions gathered here into a remarkable afterword.
At the beginning of this book you will find a foreword by Nathan Light of Uppsala University in Sweden. We appreciate his thoughts as a senior scholar of Central Asian studies, because they allow us to situate our authors’ contributions within the wider perspective of (trans-)regional historic development. In this way, we believe, the fore- and afterwords complement the introduction in interesting ways: in the latter we could focus on the immediate conceptual issues of translocality as addressed by our authors, precisely because the fore- and afterword develop such invaluable contextual knowledge in regard to both area and mobility studies. Finally, we are grateful to all contributors, who all worked hard to meet the various expectations and shifting deadlines we set them.
As this volume is an unusual assembly of authors for whom English is not their native language, we are particularly thankful to our language editor, Tricia Ryan. Due to her own background in social science research in Central Asia, her timely remarks improved the manuscript beyond grammar or style.
We are indebted once more to the Volkswagen Foundation for agreeing to provide additional funds to support the publication of this research in Open Access format. In that regard, many thanks also to Alessandra Tosi of Open Book Publishers, whose patience

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