Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.


Conceptualising Entrepreneurship: Ethnicity, Gender, Piety and other Sociocultural Aspects of Commercial Environments across Central Asia 
Philipp Schroeder (Nazarbayev University)
Manja Stephan (Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin)
Send message to Convenors
Nurlykhan Aljanova (Nazarbayev University Research Centre for Entrepreneurship)
Abel Polese (Dublin City University)
Anthropology & Archaeology
207 (Floor 2)
Friday 7 June, -
Time zone: Asia/Almaty


Entrepreneurship is a burgeoning field of research in Sociocultural Anthropology, Area Studies and a range of other non-economic disciplines. At the same time, Central Asia has many intriguing insights to offer about business ventures in manufacturing, trade or the service industry that emerge against the backdrop of post-Socialist legacies, (ethnic) nation-building projects, foreign geopolitical interests and ambitions to integrate with regional and global markets. Despite this, evidence on entrepreneurship in Central Asia has not been much present in relevant academic debates, and even less have there been dedicated efforts to conceptualise entrepreneurship in Central Asia.

Our panel takes a next step in this direction by examining entrepreneurial case studies from various sectors and settings across Central Asia in light of intersecting domains such as ethnicity, gender or morality. More specifically, the panel will identify shared and unique characteristics of entrepreneurial environments in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and explore their association with individual careers and business models that build on various sociocultural and economic resource constellations to achieve market success. In this way, the panel’s presentations on neighbourhood-based (mahalla) businesses (Indira Alibayeva), on fashion design-marketing via social media (Kholida Khaldarova) and on Muslim piety and activist professionalism (Manja Stephan) will make conceptual and empirical contributions on how profit-orientation aligns or conflicts with affective, spiritual and other non-material considerations. The panel’s objective thus is to strike a balance between the descriptive, fieldwork-based particularities of entrepreneurship unfolding in Central Asia and an exercise in proposing a theoretical framework to capture this phenomenon more generally (Philipp Schroeder).

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 7 June, 2024, -