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Abstract: Drawing on ethnographic research in the aftermath of political violence in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in April 2010, this article explores the intense and ambivalent sociality that emerges in contexts of dramatic political upheaval. It argues that public responses to these events orchestrated and channeled public emotion around claims of being “with the people” [el menen] in ways that are consequential for understanding the ethnicization of social life in Kyrgyzstan over subsequent weeks. Engaging with debates that have sought to explore the eventfulness of identity in moments of political upheaval, the article explores the intersections between place, political practice and collective mourning, and draws attention to the long-term political effects of short-lived political actions. In so doing, it contributes to the broader concerns of this special issue on futurity and belonging in Kyrgyzstan in two ways: by stressing the affective and contingent articulation and political community; and by exploring the role of grief in mobilizing and siting articulations of national membership – including in violently performative ways.
Special Issue: Negotiating Multiple Senses of the Future and Belonging in Kyrgyzstan