Family Matters: The Making and Remaking of Family during Conflict Periods in Central Asia

  • ROCHE, SOPHIE (Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) at the University of Heidelberg) ;
  • TORNO, SWETLANA (Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies at the University of Heidelberg) ;
  • KAZEMI, SAID REZA (Afghanistan Analysts Network and at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies at the University of Heidelberg)
  • Published : 2020.06.15


The family as a social institution has survived most diverse political periods and appears resilient or at least able to reconstitute itself even in the aftermath of destructive events such as wars. Age at first marriage is one possibility to systematize the strategies that families follow in times of internal conflicts (e.g., civil wars), external interventions or peaceful times. The authors found that age at first marriage correlates with socio-political events whereas perceptions of insecurity lead to a decline in marital age. This paper is based on three case studies that the authors have conducted through ethnographic methods among Tajiks in the cities Kulob, Khujand, and Mazar-e Sharif in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Combining Grounded Theory with the genealogical methods from social anthropology in order to generate demographic data, the authors introduce the method of grounded demography as a way to generate demographic data through ethnographic methods. Grounded demography offers a way to produce statistical data grounded in ethnographic research.


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