Muslim Youth

Tensions And Transitions In Tajikistan


Colette Harris

First Edition • January 3, 2006 • 208 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813342948 • $37.00 USD$59.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780786737130 • $22.99 USD$26.99 CAN

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Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the peoples of Central Asia (Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) have been exposed to new, Western influences that stress individualism at the expense Central Asian traditions of family and communalism. Young men in particular are exposed to new ideas and lifestyles as they travel in large numbers outside their native republics for the first time, even as contemporary Islam exerts itself as a potent force for cultural conservatism, especially for women. As a result, young Central Asians today confront a complex mixture of the old and the new that strains personal relations, especially within the family, between generations, and between spouses.Relying on the author’s extensive fieldwork, Muslim Youth devotes separate chapters to family life, education, dating, and marriage and the family in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Throughout the book, emblematic life stories vividly portray the hopes and concerns of Tajiks, teasing out the complexity of modernity versus tradition and individualism versus collectivism.


Colette Harris currently works as a fellow in the the Participation, Power and Social Change Group, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK. At the time when this book was conceived and written, she was program director, women in development, at Virginia Tech. Born in Britain, Colette has lived and worked all over the world and speaks multiple languages. She has long been involved with the Republic of Tajikistan, in former Soviet Central Asia, but she has also carried out development projects in Africa, Latin America, and other parts of Asia. Colette is a social scientist and development specialist, working on issues of gender, identity and power, family relations, conflict and violence, public health and sexological problems from a gendered perspective, as well as the development of grass-roots innovative pedagogical methodologies.

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