Accepted Paper:

Bringing up a child in a Kyrgyz way  


Baktygul Tulebaeva (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Paper short abstract:

The way parents bring up their children differs from culture to culture, depending on cultural values. What can parents’ “investment” in their children tell us? In this paper I look at local concepts of upbringing among Kyrgyz people and how they are shaped with the change of a society.

Paper long abstract:

This paper looks at the concept of tarbiya, which is translated from Kyrgyz as upbringing. However, tarbiya is more than just upbringing: it is to bring up a child in a Kyrgyz way, which circles around the concepts of "yiman" (well-manner), discipline and work. Mainly it is to shape a culturally nourished child with the aim of passing the cultural values from one generation to the next.

Upbringing is a phenomenon that is sensitive to historical changes. However, tarbiya has a more stable character. Seventy years of the Soviet regime and the strengthening of Islam with the independent Kyrgyz Republic has brought many changes which contradict to Kyrgyz traditional way of upbringing. As it was noted by one local person, it is a pity that Kyrgyz people are born in a Kyrgyz way, brought up in a Russian way and buried in an Arabic way. Despite the changes, caused by globalization and modernization, Kyrgyz people manage to preserve their essential traditional cultural values.

To lead a modern life and at the same time preserve a traditional form of culture is not easy. In this paper I closely look at how the process of enculturation goes in modern Kyrgyzstan: what a child for Kyrgyz people is, what parents invest in children, what values are taken into consideration, what they expect back from children and how children cope with meeting these expectations. The discussion around the concept of tarbiya is aimed to contribute to the general concepts of a child, childhoods and enculturation.

Panel P034
Childhood(s) and youth(s) of the future: children as cultural and social resources (Commission on Children, Youth and Childhood)