Based, as a great deal of nowadays political anthropology of Central Asia, on traditional categories of Soviet-time ethnography (such as “clan”, mahalla, etc.), this short article insists on the present-day activation of these categories in the framework of Central Asian political struggles and debates of the past sixteen years.  The author has not taken notice of the weight of Soviet academic culture in the diffusion of these mechanical categories, in which the citizens of Central Asian states are still jailed by a majority of local and (less forgivably) foreign commentators—depriving them a priori of the ability to develop more subtle strategies than those confirming their automatic allegiance to these categories.  The great merit of such a superficial and discouraging conception is to reveal the urgent need of a revamping by a certain political anthropology of Central Asian societies.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-8.4.A-719