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'City of the Future'

Built Space, Modernity and Urban Change in Astana

Mateusz Laszczkowski

220 pages, 2 tables, 2 maps, 22 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-256-2 $95.00/£67.00 Hb Published (August 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-257-9 eBook

Hb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Buy the ebook from these vendors

“‘City of the Future’ is the first of its kind. As a long-awaited comprehensive account of the rise of Astana… it is a remarkably thoughtful and thought-provoking book. Laszczkowski is a skilled ethnographer and he recounts his rich and insightful research in a style that captivates and challenges readers to think outside the box.” · Natalie Koch, University of Syracuse

Astana, the capital city of the post-Soviet Kazakhstan, has often been admired for the design and planning of its futuristic cityscape. This anthropological study of the development of the city focuses on every-day practices, official ideologies and representations alongside the memories and dreams of the city’s longstanding residents and recent migrants. Critically examining a range of approaches to place and space in anthropology, geography and other disciplines, the book argues for an understanding of space as inextricably material-and-imaginary, and unceasingly dynamic – allowing for a plurality of incompatible pasts and futures materialized in spatial form.

Mateusz Laszczkowski is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, at the University of Warsaw, Poland. In 2007-2012 he conducted his doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany.

Series: Volume 14, Integration and Conflict Studies
Subject: Urban Studies General Anthropology General Geography
Area: Europe Asia

LC: HN670.23.A95 L33 2016

BISAC: SOC026030 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Sociology/Urban; SOC002000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/General

BIC: JFSG Urban communities; JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography


List of Maps, Figures and Tables
Note on Transliteration and Translation

Introduction: Pathways into the ‘City of the Future’

  • Astana, Kazakhstan and the Global Lives of Modernist Urbanism
  • Anthropology’s Space
  • Space and Time
  • Theorizing the City Anthropologically
  • Fieldwork in the ‘City of the Future’

Chapter 1. Materializing the Future: Images and Practices

  • Deconstruction, Reconstruction
  • The Cityscape of the Future
  • Becoming ‘Contemporary’
  • The Roots of Disenchantment, and Its Limits

Chapter 2. Performing Urbanity: Migrants, the City and Collective Identification

  • Identities beyond Representation
  • Urbanity and Rurality in Kazakhstan
  • Migration to Astana
  • Migrants’ Stories
    • Kumano: A Pioneer Settles Down
    • Kirill and Gisele: Love on the Move
    • Bakytgul: Caught Up in Deferrals
    • Aynura: The Girl Who Played the Accordion
    • Madiyar: The Struggling Southerner
  • Embodying Identity

Chapter 3. Tselinograd: The Past in the ‘City of the Future’

  • Building Tselinograd
  • Nostalgia and Spatial Intimacy
  • Walking in Tselinograd
  • Tselinograd’s Glory

Chapter 4. Celebration and the City: Belonging in Public Space

  • What Is Public Space?
  • The Setting: City Squares
  • Public Holiday Celebrations
    • Late-Soviet Tselinograd
    • Astana
  • Whose Celebration, Whose City?
  • Public Space Reopened

Chapter 5. Fixing the Courtyard: Mundane Place-Making

  • Shifting Frameworks
  • Material Place-Making in the Dvor
  • Digression: Things Make a Difference
  • The KSK Takeover

Chapter 6. Playing with the City: ‘Encounter’ in Astana

  • What is ‘Encounter’?
  • Game Types
  • ‘Encounter’ as Play
  • Play or Politics: Carnival, Stiob and ‘Encounter’
  • ‘Encounter’s Creativity'
  • Creasing Space



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