ANT-05
No Past? No Future? Everyday Securityscapes in Central Asia

Convenors:
Madeleine Reeves (University of Manchester)
Chair:
N/A
Discussant:
Madeleine Reeves
Theme:
ANT
Location:
Posvar 3431
Start time:
27 October, 2018 at 11:00
Session slots:
1

Abstract:

How do imaginations of security and insecurity express themselves in the everyday lives of different people across Central Asia? Some Western academics have criticized the ways in which the region becomes popularly framed in accordance to "discourses of danger" that foreground the threats of terrorism, organized crime or political instability. The chapters in this edited volume, most of which are authored by scholars from Central Asia, agree that such state-centric perspectives only provide a partial account of what in/security means for many people in the region. Nevertheless, they argue that this should not subdue analyses into de-emphasizing the importance of vernacular threat-perceptions in the micro-spaces of everyday life. Especially for marginalized groups deep-seated feelings of insecurity - "discourses of danger" - remain a central factor underlying a variety of quotidian social practices. The edited volume roughly distinguishes these practices or 'securityscapes' in terms of their relation to time and space. For some groups, they mainly revolve around attempts to conserve the past, to ascertain one's ethnic and cultural identity by drawing numerous social and physical boundaries between 'us' and a threatening 'them'. Other people place a greater emphasis on future-making, on seeking security through looking ahead and, in the course of doing so, occasionally imagining more inclusive and holistic spaces. Finally, securityscapes may neither center on the past or the future, but simply on surviving the present. This entails frequent attempts to cross boundaries by means of trickery, adaptation and mimicry. The edited volume discusses different types of security practices with reference to a wide variety of marginalized and endangered groups, mostly from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In Tajikistan it charts the everyday securityscapes of the Pamiri and Ruszabon minority as well as civil rights activists. In Kyrgyzstan it considers groups as diverse as the Uzbek minority in Osh, mixed couples and the LGBT community.