Home    Number 4, 2014

Between "Sart" and "Kalmak": Politics of Identity in Kyrgyzstan

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

A. Alymbaeva | alymbaeva@eth.mpg.de


Sart, Kalmak, Kalmyk, Kyrgyz, identity politics, jouissance, Manas, strategies of inclusion/exclusion, majority and minority


The paper focuses on identity politics in Kyrgyzstan in the case of Chelpek village. The theoretical approach suggested by Stavrakakis and Chrysoloras, based on Lacan’s concept of jouissance, is employed. The paper examines the narratives of Chelpek community about the ways in which they explain versions of their name. The analysis outlines the identity dilemma and the community’s perspective on its solution, which shows the tendency towards the further integration with the Kyrgyz majority. The official discourse, based on the epic poem “Manas”, is considered as the desired jouissance of the Kyrgyz nation. The examination of this discourse and its influence on the Chelpek community leads us to the question why the Kyrgyz majority tends to keep the boundary closed for the minority, which has enough resources for painless integration into the majority.


Alymbaeva, A. 2014. Between “Sart” and “Kalmak”: Politics of Identity in Kyrgyzstan. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 45-55

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