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Descendants of Altynay: Education as an opportunity and urban idealisation in present-day Kyrgyzstan


Schröder, Philipp (2020). Descendants of Altynay: Education as an opportunity and urban idealisation in present-day Kyrgyzstan. In: Egea, Denise. Education in Central Asia: A Kaleidoscope of Challenges and Opportunities. Cham, 157-170.

Abstract

This chapter discusses schooling and learning in Kyrgyzstan as an opportunity that is structured by Soviet ideological heritage, state resource distribution, gendered upbringing, ethnic belonging, language policies and the differences between urban and rural domains. Based on ethnographic data collected in 2016, I show that from the vantage point of village residents, receiving an education in a city environment might promise future professional success but also is associated with substantial fears of young people’s moral decline and alienation from the cultural home. It becomes apparent that in present-day Kyrgyzstan, the transfer of institutionalised knowledge is a process negotiated by parents, children, teachers and local village communities in light of a growing prominence of Islam, higher divorce rates or international labour migration—yet also with a widespread unawareness about the actual demands of the local labour market. Furthermore, it is argued that the decision-making on educational careers among Kyrgyzstanis extends beyond conventional understandings of individual social mobility and that instead collective considerations of family demographics and budgets, social reputation within peer groups and future marriageability oftentimes predominate. As far as young women are concerned, for example, a balancing is noticeable in many cases between the parental obligation to enable a girl’s education and the simultaneous social pressure to fulfil cultural expectations of her continued domesticity and chastity.

Abstract

This chapter discusses schooling and learning in Kyrgyzstan as an opportunity that is structured by Soviet ideological heritage, state resource distribution, gendered upbringing, ethnic belonging, language policies and the differences between urban and rural domains. Based on ethnographic data collected in 2016, I show that from the vantage point of village residents, receiving an education in a city environment might promise future professional success but also is associated with substantial fears of young people’s moral decline and alienation from the cultural home. It becomes apparent that in present-day Kyrgyzstan, the transfer of institutionalised knowledge is a process negotiated by parents, children, teachers and local village communities in light of a growing prominence of Islam, higher divorce rates or international labour migration—yet also with a widespread unawareness about the actual demands of the local labour market. Furthermore, it is argued that the decision-making on educational careers among Kyrgyzstanis extends beyond conventional understandings of individual social mobility and that instead collective considerations of family demographics and budgets, social reputation within peer groups and future marriageability oftentimes predominate. As far as young women are concerned, for example, a balancing is noticeable in many cases between the parental obligation to enable a girl’s education and the simultaneous social pressure to fulfil cultural expectations of her continued domesticity and chastity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
Uncontrolled Keywords:Kyrgyzstan education; Idealised education; Collective negotiation; Gender education in Kyrgyzstan; Ethnicity in Kyrgyzstan; Rural education in Kyrgyzstan; Education as an opportunity; Urban idealisation
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 14:57
Last Modified:15 Feb 2021 14:58
OA Status:Closed
Official URL:https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030501266
Related URLs:https://link-springer-com.ezproxy.uzh.ch/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-50127-3_10 (Library Catalogue)

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