Daughters as Ojiza: Marriage, Security and Care Strategies for Daughters among Uzbeks in Southern Kyrgyzstan (Central Asia Lecture Series)

November 24, 2022 | 9:00AM - 10:30AM
Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

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Aksana Ismailbekova is a research fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum-Moderner Orient (ZMO). Ismailbekova  completed her dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany. Based on her PhD dissertation, she wrote her monograph Blood Ties and the Native Son: Poetics of Patronage in Kyrgyzstan, which was published by Indiana University Press in 2017.   
This paper illustrates the dynamics of the Uzbek marriage system and new forms of care, material and moral support for young married women in southern Kyrgyzstan. My ethnographic research shows tremendous concern among parents to ensure daughters' livelihoods and to help them cope with the insecurity arising in their lives in both peaceful and conflict-ridden times. The main forms of solidarity extend to all aspects of caring for their daughters and their respective family members. These observations contrast with the existing regional and Western literatures on Central Asian Muslim societies, which have emphasized the predominance of patriarchy and patrilineality, but have under-studied the significance of other types of kin-based relationships. This chapter will show the importance of some of these in Central Asia, focusing in particular on care strategies for daughters and matrilocal ideas. This care is connected to the local idea of treating daughters as vulnerable (Uzb. Ojiza) and the ideal of providing for a daughter’s ‘security’ in marriage. Ojiza is a strategy of individuals in patriarchy, through which women can exert a degree of agency in using this attribution to call for support. My recent research has revealed other relations within local kinship systems such as the importance of the mother and her relatives for the maintenance and advancement of a household, the importance of a mother’s brother and his support role, and the importance of having extensive knowledge of kin on the mother’s side.
Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies


Aksana Ismailbekova

Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum-Moderner Orient (ZMO).