Migrants and Nationalism as Identity Crises in Central Asia
(Northeastern Illinois U.)
When the Central Asian countries became independent states, they faced the dilemma of constructing ideologies that would give meaning and purpose to each new entity. For nearly 200 years most independent states have opted for nationalism that provided the raison d'être for ethnically-based states. The nation became the apotheosis of ethnicity. Indeed, this became a morass for the Central Asian countries. The application of the old model has worked badly. The necessity of mass migration due to local economics caused migrants to consider the importance of nationalism in light of the new nation-states dislocations and dictatorial tendencies, to say nothing of the mistreatment of millions of people from various ethnic minorities living in each of the new countries. Taking this factor into consideration with the treatment Central Asian nationals themselves experienced outside of their respective countries, and the result in part is the turmoil of identity. Migration experiences and nationalism have led to crises by which Central Asians confront the nation-building experiences of the past 25 years. This presentation will discuss concrete manifestations of these identity crises, and then suggest ways in which both the strengthening of independence and the ideology that supports respective nation-states can serve those countries of Central Asia affected most adversely by these crises.
Migration between hope and despair: paths of mobility inside and beyond Central Asia