From Belonging to Belief

Modern Secularisms and the Construction of Religion in Kyrgyzstan

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Julie McBrien
Central Eurasia in Context
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 
    University of Pittsburgh Press
    , November
     240 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by David Radford forthcoming.


This book presents a nuanced ethnographic study of Islam and secularism in post-Soviet Central Asia, as seen from the small town of Bazaar-Korgon in southern Kyrgyzstan. Julie McBrien explores belief and non-belief, varying practices of Islam, discourses of extremism, and the role of the state, to elucidate the everyday experiences of Bazaar-Korgonians. She shows how Islam is explored, lived, and debated in both conventional and novel sites, and argues that religion is not always a matter of belief— sometimes it is essentially about belonging. McBrien details the complex process of evolving religion in a region that has experienced both Soviet atheism and post-Soviet secularism, each of which has profoundly formed the way Muslims interpret and live Islam.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Julie McBrien is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.

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