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 [update]

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…

How Tito Explains Kazakhstan

He gave them a good life. Most of the people in Yugoslavia were peasants who had moved to cities after World War II but remembered their hard lives in the villages. The Marshal spoiled them. Like him, they enjoyed life far beyond their means. That is why the political opposition never blossomed in this country….

Life After Father (После Сине-Желтых Дней)

NAN and Beyond The tragic events in Zhanaozen in December 2011, rather than being a turning point in state-society relations, should instead be viewed as more of a signpost. It is a sign that Kazakhstan have entered a new phase of the rule of President Nursultan Nazarbaev (NAN). Briefly looking back on his long political…

Nazarbaev, Inc.

I first visited Astana back in 2008 (here and here). After a year in Almaty, I finally ventured north to look for the ‘real Kazakhstan’ in the capital.  Since then I have returned several times, and finally had the chance to spend a few nights on the Left Bank proper. The Left Bank is the…

Election Roundup 2012

Eight Parties were originally registered for the 2012 elections for the lower house Kazakhstan’s parliament (the Mazhilis). The vote combines party list and single district mandates. Most important is the ruling party, Nur Otan, which gained 88.41% of the votes in 2007 and became the only party in Parliament. However, as a sign of the…