This article explores the environmental, historical and cultural factors that influence civic engagement among rural communities in contemporary Kazakhstan. It traces how forms of nomadic communitarianism as a response to the vicissitudes of life on the open Steppe merged with the imposed collectivism of Soviet society in such a manner that the two were able to coexist together in both policy and practice. Drawing on fieldwork among a number of villages in South Kazakhstan, we argue that, together, the nomadic and Soviet pasts still constitute the core values at work in rural communities, influencing the structure of local power relations and the nature of group association and cooperative venture. Rather than disappearing, these values, if anything, are re-emerging as part of an attempt to legitimise Kazakh culture as the core identity of the modern nation state.
Bankoff, G., & Oven, K. (2019). From nomadic communitarianism to civil socialism: Searching for the roots of civil society in rural Kazakhstan. Journal of Civil Society, 15(4), 373-391. https://doi.org/10.1080/17448689.2019.1670386