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Research Activities

Research Projects

FY 2012/2013 Research Topic: C-24
Exploring Informal Networks in Kazakhstan: A Multidimensional Approach


Personal networks constructed through friends, acquaintances and relatives play a significant function in Kazakhstani society. Under socialism, “blat” (the use of informal contacts) was indispensable to obtain goods and services that were constantly in short supply. Today, “wild” capitalism resulting from privatization and chaos following the collapse of the Soviet Union has changed the character of personal networks, as well as money and goods exchanged through them. As a result, the pattern of behavior and values of people have changed greatly from the Soviet times.
This project aims to examine informal networks in Kazakhstan from three different perspectives: on a micro-level concerning the everyday life of ordinary people; on a macro-level related to politics and economy of the state; and in the sphere of international labor migration. The project members explore informal practices in respective areas, and examine the impact of standardization and reproduction of such practices for the Kazakhstani society.


April 2012 - March 2014

Members of the Research Project

[ Organizer ] OKA Natsuko
[ Co-researchers ] DAVE Bhavna (Senior Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London)
SATPAYEV Dossym (Kazakhstan Risks Assessment Group, Director)