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New Transnational Movements and Relationships: The Case of Kazakhs from Gansu

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)


Kazakhs, China, Kazakhstan, migration, transnational ties, identity


In this paper we describe a community of Kazakhs from the Chinese province of Gansu, one third of which migrated to Kazakhstan during the early and mid-1990s. Since then, out-migration has stopped and the two parts of the community have rapidly drifted apart. On the one side of the border, the Chinese state has invested heavily in infrastructure and job opportunities to keep the remaining Kazakhs. This was, so far, very successful and people have accommodated themselves in spite of a widespread fear of assimilation. On the other side, Kazakhstan is not seen as a promising place for the future anymore, although the economic situation is certainly better than it was in the 1990s. At the same time, those who had migrated back then have by now settled to some degree. The paper shows how the two parts of the community, in spite of the rather short time frame, have moved into different directions and maintain only weak transnational ties. It also illuminates the diverging ideas about Kazakh state- and nationhood that have developed in this course.


Finke, P. Buri, T. 2014. New Transnational Movements and Relationships: The Case of Kazakhs from Gansu. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 4: 66-76

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