How Does Travel Abroad Change Us?

In his new book, “The Social Process of Globalization: Return Migration and Cultural Change in Kazakhstan”, Professor Douglas Blum looks at the experiences of young Kazakhstanis who have returned from time or work in abroad, namely the west. He has written a detailed profile of the changes that occur in both identity and habit, which…

Autopsy of a Half-Baked Anthropological Research Project

A recurring theme on this blog has been politics and the changing social landscape of Kazakhstan. I thought it would be helpful to explain in more detail some of the research I’ve done outside of this blog in order to to provide more context to my ideas here. To begin, it’s been five years since I…

The Imaginary City

A friend recently forward me a London Review of Book’s write-up of Owen Hatherley’s architectural travelogue of post-Communist spaces. It got us talking about the motivations of the western mind towards these kinds of exotic expeditions. What draws some people, like myself, to not just visit these sites but write about them? The discussion me understand why…

From the Desk of Mehmet Akdağ

Found in the customer pages of the Istanbul Otogar (bus station): Sizin firması hiç iyi değil Lavabo yok çay yok su yok Gereğini yapılmaşı rica ederim -Mehmet Akdağ My own poetic translation: Your company is not at all worthy of respect. There is no sink, nor tea, nor water to be seen! I implore you…

Four Days in March, Part 2: Under the Rain at the Central Stadium

In Almaty I had the chance to visit three more matches, all at the Ortalyk Stadion (Central Stadium). I have a lot of fond memories from the place (You can read accounts of national team matches against Andorra and Belarus) and it was great to be back. The stadium is much the same, with its comfortable, positive atmosphere…

Four Days in March, Part 1: The Kazakhstan Super Cup

I was back in Kazakhstan late winter, and managed to watch four football matches while there. The first one was the kick-off for the season, the Super Cup. Facing off were the previous season’s champions FC Astana and the Cup holders Kairat Almaty. Astana are the upstarts, a new club started a few years back to…