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Accepted Paper:

The future of Kyrgyz summer pastures and hydropower: between invoking paradise and state capture  
Jeanne Féaux de la Croix (University of Bern)

Paper long abstract:

Since the collapse of the Soviet vision of utopia, how have citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia's 'island of democracy' recast their future? I investigate this in relation to Kyrgyzstan's two greatest resources: water and pasture. Soviet and post-soviet dams reflect aspirations to modernize Kyrgyzstan. But these dams flood pastures, the other mainstay of the rural economy, which is imagined as part of eternal Kyrgyzstan. Pastures also cause great concern: how to maintain them as a source of wealth and beauty in the future? In both types of places, the role of state agencies in regulating Kyrgyzstan's future is heavily disputed.

Based on three years of fieldwork, I analyse the view points of dam workers, herders, government and international actors. Drawing out the contested hopes invested in pasture and dams, I argue there is no simple equation between hydropower and 'modernity', grasslands and 'tradition'.

Panel W016
Envisioning the future, and hope
  Session 1