The Ambiguities of The Kazakhs' Nomadic Heritage

Abstract : Presenting themselves as the heirs of the steppe nomads, the Kazakhs have, since the independence of Kazakhstan in 1991, emphasised their nomadic inheritance as the basis of their identity. Nonetheless, for all that they reclaim this heritage, they remain influenced by negative representations of nomads, and, having difficulty in combining pastoralism and modernity, they proclaim themselves at the same time founders of cities, inventors of writing and creators of state, in a quest for ancestral grounding which they share with other Central Asian republics. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, debates upon sedentarisation showed all the ambivalence of the Russian and Kazakh positions on the topic. Following independence, the 'patrimonialisation' of nomadism focused upon some ancillary emblems, such as the yurt or the horse, neglecting the essential feature, residential mobility, and, in ignoring actual nomadic practices, it definitively relegated nomadism to the past. Ethnography, conceived as a historical discipline consistently built on an evolutionist paradigm, described Kazakh pastoralism as relevant to a temporal elsewhere (before the 1917 revolution) or a geographical one (beyond the borders of Kazakhstan), and it showed little interest in the actual realities of mobile pastoralism, despite it being practiced by a small part of the population.
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Nomadic Peoples, Berghahn Journals, 2016, 20 (2), pp.176 - 199. 〈10.3197/np.2016.200202〉
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Contributeur : Carole Ferret <>
Soumis le : vendredi 6 octobre 2017 - 10:10:36
Dernière modification le : jeudi 11 janvier 2018 - 06:17:50




Carole Ferret. The Ambiguities of The Kazakhs' Nomadic Heritage. Nomadic Peoples, Berghahn Journals, 2016, 20 (2), pp.176 - 199. 〈10.3197/np.2016.200202〉. 〈hal-01611572〉



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