How to remain good neighbors when a border guard demands a passport? The Security Dilemma in the Ferghana Valley Borderlands.

  • Datum: –17.00
  • Plats: IRES Library, Gamla torget 3, vån 3
  • Föreläsare: Dr. Asel Murzakulova (University of Central Asia)
  • Arrangör: Institutet för Rysslands- och Eurasienstudier (IRES)
  • Kontaktperson: Michael Watson-Conneely
  • Seminarium

This seminar presents a study analysis on the transformation of local perceptions of “security” and “insecurity” in the context of national border materialization in post-socialist Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. By exploring the local community’s response to State national security projects represented via building in contested areas new large-scale infrastructure (roads, bridges and border posts), Dr. Murzakulova shows the politics of destruction of social life which in turn provokes economic insecurity of populations inhabiting the borderlands. Data collected between 2015-2021 in contested areas indicate that borderland communities from both sides have similar perceptions of “security” which are opposite to the State’s discourse of “security”. While the state seeks the presence of border guard posts in borderland villages to ensure the safety of its citizens, the local communities consider border guards as the main source of their sense of insecurity. From the perspective of the study’s interlocutors “koshuna menen yntymakta jashoo” (social harmony with neighbours) along with common memory of the joint past as the major provider of security.
The study conducted by Dr. Murzakulova contributes to the critical approach in security studies through highlighting the contradictions between local and national security discourses which given grounds to investigate the broad spectrum of reflections on the concept of national identity, state borders, citizenship, patriotism and how they are intertwined with human security challenges in the post-Soviet borderlands of the Ferghana Valley.

Speaker bio
Dr. Asel Murzakulova is a Senior Research Fellow with UCA’s Mountain Societies Research Institute and Co-Founder of the analytical club "Mongu". Her research covers conflicts, migration, natural resource management, religion, and nationalism. Currently, she is engaged in security and conflict-related research, with a focus on resource management challenges across Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Borders. In 2013, she was awarded the International Medal of the Commission of National Education of Poland for her contribution to the development of civic education in Kyrgyzstan. In 2008, she was a visiting scholar at the Davis Center at Harvard University, and in 2013, at the ISEEES at the University of California in Berkeley. In 2023 she invited as IRES visiting researcher at Uppsala University.