Through the experience of a community of Uighur women pilgrims in Kazakhstan, the author assesses its role as expression of women’s religious commitment. She observes that the interethnic contacts during the liminal period of the ritual did not lead to a transcending or blurring of these boundaries. On the contrary, ideas concerning heightened danger in and around sacred places caused such boundaries to be reinforced. From this viewpoint, the author observes that the macro-structural features of post-Soviet society can be found in the micro-interactions of a small group of pilgrims. Informal religious gatherings and communal experiences also provide single women, divorcees or widows, with a sense of companionship. In this respect a pilgrimage has an integrating effect since it reinforces gender and ethnic solidarity. At the same time, women’s communal ritual action is seen as a continuation and extension of daily routine, where they integrate perceived tradition with pragmatic considerations.

The Redaction
CER: II-6.4.C-515