Unravelling Central Asian "Economies of Waste"
Shortly after their independencies, Central Asian countries faced a more or less expected resurgence of "traditions" as well as a rather (un)expected inclination of their citizens to "waste" income on rituals and celebrations. Marriage and funeral expenditures seem to be shaping post-Soviet social lives, no matter how local, regional, or world economies evolve. "Waste" and "lavishness" have taken a prominent place on the agendas of international organizations, governments, and parliaments. They are also widely discussed by the public, in sometimes heated ruminations over identities, subjectivities, traditions, and modernities.
Within this research axis, CASI will take up the challenge of unravelling the "economies of waste" in contemporary Central Asia. We plan to reinforce a core group of 4 or 5 AUCA social science scholars by inviting 6 to 10 colleagues capable of making worthy contributions on the topic from Europe, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. We are looking for:
- "thick descriptions" of a variety of local "economies of waste" and the institutions and networks that support them
- analyses of how Central Asian "economies of waste" are perceived by international and local official actors, and by local publics
- reflections of "economies of waste" as a pan-Asian phenomenon on the 20th and 21st centuries.
By doing so we aim to contribute to ongoing discussions in the social sciences on "identities," "subjectivities," and "modernities" as well as to highlight how Central Asia can bend and shape these debates.