Borders and Bazaars in Central Asia

A second article in a forthcoming special issue on Checkpoint Politics in Cross-border Exchanges is now available at the publisher’s site for JCA.

Between Border and Bazaar: Central Asia’s Informal Economy” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1532017) is by Hasan H. Karrar of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan.

The abstract for the article states:

The disintegration of the Soviet Union spurred a transnational trade in consumer goods. Bazaars, which proliferated across the former Soviet Union, including in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that is the focus of this article, became nodes in this informal trade. This article makes three arguments: (i) Soviet successor states capitalised on the new informal economy which provided employment to millions when economies were in decline. Conversely, ongoing developments, particularly in Kazakhstan, seek to modernise the bazaars that emerged after the Soviet Union. (ii) The movement of people and goods – between border and bazaar, and in case of re-exports, on to another border – are illustrative of a multi-dimensional informal economy evidenced in rent extraction, regulation of bazaars, and in trader networks. (iii) The bazaar-centred economy relies on checkpoint politics that establish border regimes, enabling mobility.

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