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Staying at Home

Staying at Home

Rita Sanders


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Despite economic growth in Kazakhstan, more than 80 per cent of Kazakhstan’s ethnic Germans have emigrated to Germany to date. Disappointing experiences of the migrants, along with other aspects of life in Germany, have been transmitted through transnational networks to ethnic Germans still living in Kazakhstan. Consequently, Germans in Kazakhstan today feel more alienated than ever from their ‘historic homeland’. This book explores the interplay of those memories, social networks and state policies, which play a role in the ‘construction’ of a Kazakhstani German identity.

Rita Sanders is a Research Project Member at the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Cologne. She has worked as a lecturer at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

“This comprehensive study of the German-Kazakhstanis provides a thoughtful analysis of post-Soviet identity/ethnicity/nationality entanglements. Anyone interested in these issues would benefit by reading this book.” • Slavic Review

“Ethnographically rich, the study is based on a fertile mix of quantitative and qualitative methods such as pile sorting, free listing, network analysis, genealogy, participant observation and interviewing of all sorts. The author convincingly demonstrates that not leaving is nonetheless a dynamic lifestyle which demands efforts of fine-tuning and readjustment to a changing social environment.” • Florian Mühlfried, University Jena, Germany

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Staying at Home iii
Table of Contents vii
List of Maps, Figures and Tables x
Acknowledgements xii
Note on Transliteration xiv
Introduction 1
PART I Memories, Histories and Life Stories 21
Chapter 1 Memories and Histories 23
Chapter 2 The Enmeshment of Identities and Life Stories 60
PART II Nationality, Power and Change 93
Chapter 3 Assessing Nationality 95
Chapter 4 Everyday Nationality in the Kazakh Nation State 123
PART III Non-Migrants’ Social Ties 143
Chapter 5 Relations in the Locality 147
Chapter 6 Disruption in the Transnational Social Field 162
PART IV The Effect of Two States’ Policies of ‘Germanness’ on Kazakhstani Germans 187
Chapter 7 Changing Transnational Institutions 189
Chapter 8 The Divergent Ethnic Policies of Kazakhstan and Germany 207
Conclusion Germans at Home in Kazakhstan 225
References 235
Appendix 250
Index 251