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On researching 'ethnic conflict': Epistemology, politics, and a Central Asian boundary dispute

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Nick MegoranORCiD


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Providing a critique of alarmist discussions of the danger of ethnic conflict in Kyrgyzstan, and the positivist epistemological assumptions and research practices that underpin them, this article develops an approach to researching 'ethnicity' and 'ethnic conflict' through the use of focus groups. Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in southern Kyrgyzstan expressed similar views about the closures of international boundaries, framed in terms of ethnicity. However, this was not an essentialist notion, but rather a concept of authentic 'Uzbekness' or 'Kyrgyzness' predicated primarily on the performance of endogenous kinship practices and Muslim/ Soviet notions of class morality, nuanced by geography. These overlaps and discrepancies provide resources for those wishing to articulate visions of future social formations wider than the range of options currently propagated by ethnic entrepreneurs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Megoran N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Europe - Asia Studies

Year: 2007

Volume: 59

Issue: 2

Pages: 253-277

Print publication date: 01/03/2007

ISSN (print): 0966-8136

ISSN (electronic): 1465-3427


DOI: 10.1080/09668130601125585


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