Home    Number 4, 2012

Migration, Masculinity, and the Transformation of Social Space in the Sokh Valley, Uzbekistan

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Madeleine Reeves | Madeleine.Reeves@manchester.ac.uk | The University of Manchester


migration, masculinity, uzbekistan, gender, domestic space


This article explores the relationship between gendered migration and transformations in social space in the Sokh valley of Uzbekistan, from where many men leave to work seasonally in Russia. The article argues that migration and masculinity are co-constitutive, in ways that reveal much about the complexities of gender and generational dynamics in contemporary Sokh. A period of work in Russia has the potential to confirm a young mans status and identity as a man, but it is also fraught with existential and emotional risks. Meanwhile, the fact of widespread male absence is raising the stakes of staying behind for those men who are unable, or unwilling to leave to work in town in ways that are likely to be important for future migration dynamics. The article cautions against assumptions that gendered migration is producing a wide-scale breakdown in marriage in rural Uzbekistan. To understand why, it argues, we need an explanation that moves beyond patriarchy or the inherent conservatism of rural society to explore both the inter-play of gender and generational hierarchies, and the role of community and family membership in articulating ideals of Sokh manhood today.


Reeves M. 2012. Migration, Masculinity, and the Transformation of Social Space in the Sokh Valley, Uzbekistan. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 32-50

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