Domesticating Youth: Youth Bulges and their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Domesticating Youth: Youth Bulges and their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan

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Volume 8

Integration and Conflict Studies

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Domesticating Youth

Youth Bulges and their Socio-political Implications in Tajikistan

Sophie Roche
Foreword by Günther Schlee

292 pages, 21 illus., 8 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-262-1 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (March 2014)

ISBN  978-1-78533-212-8 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (May 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78238-263-8 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…a terrifically engaging work, one that addresses a wide range of important ideas while also offering some first-rate ethnographic research. Students of Central Asia, or indeed of social institutions elsewhere, would be well advised to take a close look.” · Central Asian Affairs

“[This] is an interesting and valuable study of Tajikistan, but its lessons have much broader implications. Roche has illustrated powerfully that age is a central structural issue in society and that each particular age-category has its own history, interests, and experiences…Fieldworkers and theorists [should] absorb this message and investigate age concepts, relationships, institutions, and practices in all cultures, where no doubt many valuable things will be learned.” · Anthropology Review Database

“This is an outstanding study of the ‘youth bulge’ in a remote country of Central Asia…Through her extensive field work, the author acquired a deep personal knowledge of the peculiarity of the country and its culture, for which little is available in the academic literature…This work is important not only for understanding the dynamics of the youth bulge in Tajikistan, but also to better grasp the rationale and multiple dimensions of youth movements in other developing countries of the same geographical area, and in particular the so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions.” · Michel Garenne, Institut Pasteur, Paris

“This is an interesting and well organized study that deals with a central subject – youth – concerning Tadjik society, but also Muslim societies more generally. The different chapters cover well the multiple aspects of the dynamics of youth bulge (history, economy, migration, social and cultural organization, political events, war). Most important, the book is clearly written and very readable also for a non-specialist.” · Yazid Ben Hounet, CNRS, Paris

“The focus of this study on youth in relation to civil war and conflict makes this a very important contribution to Central Asia studies, and to anthropology more generally. The manuscript contains a wealth of ethnographic material, including some very interesting accounts of former fighters in the civil war.” · Johan Rasanayagam, University of Aberdeen


Most of the Muslim societies of the world have entered a demographic transition from high to low fertility, and this process is accompanied by an increase in youth vis-à-vis other age groups. Political scientists and historians have debated whether such a “youth bulge” increases the potential for conflict or whether it represents a chance to accumulate wealth and push forward social and technological developments. This book introduces the discussion about youth bulge into social anthropology using Tajikistan, a post-Soviet country that experienced civil war in the 1990s, which is in the middle of such a demographic transition. Sophie Roche develops a social anthropological approach to analyze demographic and political dynamics, and suggests a new way of thinking about social change in youth bulge societies.

Sophie Roche is currently leading the junior research group “The Demographic Turn in the Junction of Cultures” at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at the University of Heidelberg. She worked at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany and received her PhD from this University Halle-Wittenberg. She then joined the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin in 2010 with a project on jihad in text and context, an ethnographic approach. She has extensive ethnographic experiences in Tajikistan and in Russia among Migrants for Central Asia. 

Subject: Anthropology (General)Sociology
Area: Asia


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