Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas: Rethinking Translocality Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus - cover image


Manja Stephan-Emmrich; Philipp Schröder; Copyright of individual chapters is maintained by the chapter’s authors.

Published On





  • English

Print Length

380 pages (vi + 374)


Paperback156 x 20 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.79" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 22 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.88" x 9.21")


Paperback1180g (41.62oz)
Hardback1568g (55.31oz)



OCLC Number





  • JHMC
  • 1FC
  • JH
  • JPS
  • RGCP


  • SOC002010
  • SOC015000


  • JV6121


  • translocality
  • Central Asia
  • Caucasus
  • locality
  • globalization
  • cross‐regional networks
  • Area Studies
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Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas

Rethinking Translocality Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus

This collection brings together a variety of anthropological, historical and sociological case studies from Central Asia and the Caucasus to examine the concept of translocality. The chapters scrutinize the capacity of translocality to describe, in new ways, the multiple mobilities, exchange practices and globalizing processes that link places, people and institutions in Central Asia and the Caucasus with others in Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates. Illuminating translocality as a productive concept for studying cross‐regional connectivities and networks, this volume is an important contribution to a lively field of academic discourse. Following new directions in Area Studies, the chapters aim to overcome ‘territorial containers’ such as the nation‐state or local community, and instead emphasize the significance of processes of translation and negotiation for understanding how meaningful localities emerge beyond conventional boundaries. Structured by the four themes ‘crossing boundaries’, ‘travelling ideas’, ‘social and economic movements’ and ‘pious endeavours’, this volume proposes three conceptual approaches to translocality: firstly, to trace how it is embodied, narrated, virtualized or institutionalized within or in reference to physical or imagined localities; secondly, to understand locality as a relational concept rather than a geographically bounded unit; and thirdly, to consider cross‐border traders, travelling students, business people and refugees as examples of non-elite mobilities that provide alternative ways to think about what ‘global’ means today. Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas will be of interest to students and scholars of the anthropology, history and sociology of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as for those interested in new approaches to Area Studies.


It is precisely how the editors use the idea of translocality when engaging with the issues of identity, the state, informal economies, Islam, new technologies, and so on, that allows the reader to appreciate the volume’s theoretical contribution.

Elena Borisova, University of Manchester

"Stephan-Emmrich, Manja & Philipp Schröder (eds). Mobilities, boundaries, and travelling ideas: rethinking translocality beyond central Asia and the Caucasus". Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (1359-0987), vol. 26, no. 4, 2020. doi:10.1111/1467-9655.13393

Full Review

Table of Contents



Nathan Light

Introduction: Mobilities, Boundaries, and Travelling Ideas Beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus: A Translocal Perspective

Manja Stephan-Emmrich and Philipp Schröder

Part 1: Crossing Boundaries: Mobilities Then and Now

1. Emigration Within, Across, and Beyond Central Asia in the Early Soviet Period from a Perspective of Translocality

Kamoludin Abdullaev

2. Crossing Economic and Cultural Boundaries: Tajik Middlemen in the Translocal ‘Dubai Business’ Sector

Abdullah Mirzoev and Manja Stephan-Emmrich

Part 2: Travelling Ideas: Sacred and Secular

3. Sacred Lineages in Central Asia: Translocality and Identity

Azim Malikov

4. Explicating Translocal Organization of Everyday Life: Stories From Rural Uzbekistan

Elena Kim

5. A Sense of Multiple Belonging: Translocal Relations and Narratives of Change Within a Dungan Community

Henryk Alff

Part 3: Movements from Below: Economic and Social

6. ‘New History’ as a Translocal Field

Svetlana Jacquesson

7. Informal Trade and Globalization in the Caucasus and Post-Soviet Eurasia

Susanne Fehlings

8. The Economics of Translocality — Epistemographic Observations from Fieldwork on Traders In(-Between) Russia, China, and Kyrgyzstan

Philipp Schröder

Part 4: Pious Endeavours: Near and Far

9. iPhones, Emotions, Mediations: Tracing Translocality in the Pious Endeavours of Tajik Migrants in the United Arab Emirates

Manja Stephan-Emmrich

10. Translocality and the Folding of Post-Soviet Urban Space in Bishkek: Hijrah from ‘Botanika’ to ‘Botanicheskii Jamaat’

Emil Nasritdinov

Afterword: On Transitive Concepts and Local Imaginations — Studying Mobilities from a Translocal Perspective

Barak Kalir

Notes on Contributors



Manja Stephan-Emmrich

Junior Professor of Islam in Asian and African Societies at the Institute for Asian and African Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin