Kin Relationships, Trade and Social Change among Uighurs in Southeastern Kazakhstan

Verena La Mela’s research focuses on kin relationships, trade and social change in southeastern Kazakhstan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union fundamental changes in peoples’ lives occurred, particularly in the realm of trade. Verena will explore what role kinship plays in trade relationships among inhabitants of a town close to the Chinese border.

With the help of the KNQ she will systematically gather information about traders’ family compositions and their business networks. One hypothesis is that the on-going economic changes (for example the opening of the border with China, the increasing formalization of trade, and the relocation of wholesale bases) negatively influence helping relationships between traders and their family members. The analysis of the KNQ data will enable Verena to trace cooperation patterns between traders and their family members as well as with non-kin, and to understand the interconnected ways in which kinship and trading institutions have been changing.

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