From monuments to mahallas: Contrasting memories in the urban landscape of Osh, Kyrgyzstan

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Abstract

In recent years, social and cultural geographers have begun to interrogate the relationship between memory, space and identity in the towns and cities of post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan. This article advances this research agenda by comparing top-down, or elite, interventions in the commemorative landscape of a Kyrgyzstani city with those taking place from the bottom-up level and being inscribed at street level. Nowhere are the processes of memorialisation and identity building more keenly felt than in Osh, Kyrgyzstan's second city and one which is still recovering from the emotional and physical damage inflicted by 2010's violent inter-ethnic riots. Focusing on changes in the commemorative landscape of Osh since the 2010 Events, this article interrogates the construction of a number of large-scale monuments in the city in recent years, whilst also setting out a number of narratives of memory that seem to have been inscribed in the more mundane spaces of the city. Comparing and contrasting these narratives enables the researcher to uncover patterns of convergence and conflict between the narratives of memory privileged by the city authorities and those expressed by non-elite actors, and warns that such conflicts risk being exacerbated by planned changes to the physical fabric of the city. Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social and Cultural Geography on 30th October 2014 available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14649365.2014.972972
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-225
Number of pages23
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Volume16
Issue number2
Early online date1 Sep 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2014

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Keywords

  • Collective memory
  • Identity
  • Post-conflict
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Post-Soviet
  • Monuments

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