Articulating the Shan Migrant Community in Thai Society Through Community Radio
Keywords:Institutional analysis, voting, uruu/uruk, uruuchuluk, genealogy, Kyrgyzstan
Traditional pre-tsarist institutions in Central Asia (CA) are viewed as being crucial in domestic politics, democratisation, transition and nation-building. Political scientists have focused on clan identities and clan politics, whereas anthropologists have proposed kinship and patronage as alternative analytical frameworks. Each side of the debate, however, has not adequately explained or portrayed traditional institutions that affect political voting and mobilisation simply because it is a combination of both proposed frameworks at the same time. This article suggests using Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis framework (IAD) to gain a more comprehensive analysis of the issue. Ostrom’s IAD is particularly useful to frame and explain this phenomenon because it was designed as an instrument to understand complex situations for which individuals set rules. Due to difficulty in terming the phenomenon found in the literature, this article favours using the local terms “uruu/uruk” that denote patrilinear genealogy and “uruuchuluk” that broadly stands for patrilinear bonds identity to describe traditional pre-modern institutions that affect political voting and mobilisation. In addition, this article stresses that the uruu/uruk genealogy system is closely linked with its inhabited geographic area and generates a parallel regional identity which tends to be crucial in the political life of Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, the paper treats uruu/uruk and region together as one phenomenon. The uruu/uruk genealogy system is explained via Ostrom’s IAD framework and is informed by the existing literature on contemporary elections in Kyrgyzstan along with the author’s observations of elections in Kyrgyzstan since 2009. Based on the IAD, I conclude that uruu/uruk-based voting and the development of regional identity in Kyrgyzstan are attractive practices for both individual voters and political candidates because they both benefit from the situation and are committed to maintaining the “structure” of the situation.
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