Aksana Ismailbekova – Lebensalter und Generation

Future Building in Central Asia: Intergenerational Cooperation, Infrastructure, and Translocal Mobilities

Dr. Aksana Ismailbekova

This project is a comparative study on elderly care, translocal mobilities, and future building in the Soviet and post-Soviet Central Asian contexts. The project investigates the process through which elderly care is provided in different types of kin relationships in the region, together with a historical perspective on how it has changed in the period from Soviet to post-Soviet (1991 and onwards), which marked the transition from Soviet Rule to independent nation-states. For instance, during the Soviet period, the authorities attempted to limit certain types of kin ties, which have since been revived after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union also provided many kinds of state-led institutional care which have now, because of increased mobility in the region, taken new forms and practices. Migrant remittance is one such.

A necessary focus of my research is on Fergana Valley, as this is an area shared by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, alongside Mecca (Saudi Arabia), which therefore allows us to study a regional practice at the intersection of territorial nationalities. Fergana Valley has a high influx of emigration from the region to Russia, and therefore provides a particularly good insight into the research questions around remittances and their expenditure for hajj pilgrimages to Mecca. Investigating these contexts will help to generate valid empirical data on 1) the intergenerational support of translocal families; 2) different benefits (or lack of) from the remittances leading to investments in infrastructure, education, hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, and the translocal mobilities of elders.

Central to my research, conducted in several localities over months, will be the collection of anthropological and historical data for understanding strategies of the local elderly people adopted for building a ‘future’ for their children in Central Asia.