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A Magpie’s Tale: Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives on the Kazakh of Western Mongolia

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Volume 1

Lifeworlds: Knowledges, Politics, Histories

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A Magpie’s Tale

Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives on the Kazakh of Western Mongolia

Anna Odland Portisch

282 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-796-9 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Not Yet Published (January 2023)

eISBN 978-1-80073-781-5 eBook Not Yet Published

View CartYour country: - edit  Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“What starts as an account of cultural encounters unfolds as a highly informative, entertaining, self-reflexive narrative told with a great measure of empathy and humanism that demonstrates the ultimate unity of humanity.” • Ildikó Bellér-Hann, University of Copenhagen

“I very much enjoyed reading this book. It is both insightful and touching to follow the story of one extended family over the years, and well into the past. In my view, this adds a significant piece of knowledge and reflection on a very little-known part of the world, to which the author had a unique access.” • Peter Finke, University of Zurich


Telling the story of the author's time living with a Kazakh family in a small village in western Mongolia, this book contextualizes the family’s personal stories within the broader history of the region. It looks at the position of the  Kazakh over time in relation to Tsarist Russian, Soviet, Chinese and Mongolian rule and influence. These are stories of migration across generations, bride kidnappings and marriage, domestic violence and alcoholism, adoption and family, and how people have coped in the face of political and economic crisis, poverty and loss, and, perhaps most enduringly, how love and family persist through all of this.

Anna Odland Portisch has taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies and Brunel University.

Subject: Anthropology (General)SociologyRefugee and Migration Studies
Area: Asia


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