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The Ideologies Of Kinship

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Chapter Summary

Accusations of 'tribalism' contribute to the illusion of organized kinship groups dominating the sphere of informal politics. Nurlan Motuev's attempt to generate political support through his uruu reveals a discourse that employs kinship as the primary organizing principle of society. The introduction of reforms during the Gorbachev era saw a greater openness in public discussions of notions related to 'tribe' and 'clan' in Kyrgyzstan. The division of Kyrgyz society into Sayak, Sarybagysh and others groups creates an impression of nomadic kin groups, which still exert influence over popular depictions of contemporary society. A debate which shaped representations of pastoral nomads, particularly among Soviet scholars, was the notion of 'feudalism'. Segmentary lineage theory furthered the perception of egalitarianism through the balancing of acephalous kinship groups. Abramzon classified the manap-bais as: 'a type of dealer, entrepreneur and capitalist'.

Keywords: egalitarianism; feudalism; kinship; Kyrgyzstan; manap-bais; Nurlan Motuev; Sarybagysh; Sayak; segmentary lineage theory; uruu



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