GW Work


Local Politics and Patronage of a Sacred Lineage Shrine in Kazakhstan Open Access

Pilgrimage to saints’ shrines is an important Islamic practice in Kazakhstan. Kazakhs go on pilgrimages seeking cures for disease, blessings for the future, and a connection to the past. Pilgrimage sites and those who control them are not, however, apolitical. The control of shrines and the business of pilgrimage are both connected to governmental nation-building policies. This paper shows that traditional shrine keepers from sacred lineages (qozha) in northern Kazakhstan seek patronage from political and economic elites in order to build, maintain, and expand shrine complexes. These patrons are often state officials who expect returns in cultural capital for investments of economic capital. The different goals of patrons and shrine-keepers occasionally lead to conflict. This paper examines one such conflict and explores what it reveals about the interplay between religion and local politics in Kazakhstan.

Author DOI Keyword Date created Type of Work Rights statement GW Unit Persistent URL

Notice to Authors

If you are the author of this work and you have any questions about the information on this page, please use the Contact form to get in touch with us.


In Collection: