• The authors:
    Ekaterina Chicherina
  • Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
  • Pages: 352-360
  • URL:
  • DOI:

Abstract. Kyrgyzstan is a post-soviet country, which is undergoing
transition processes. The collapse of the Soviet Union affected people’s
lives in many ways. Unstable political and economic situation has brought
insecurities to many spheres and has given rise to changes in many
biographies. The hope for confident and stable future was also disturbed by
two revolutions which happened in 2005 and 2010. Besides, globalization
brings its own uncertainties into social structures, when old rules no longer
apply and individuals have to adapt or overcome risks and inequalities. All
these processes force parents and their children to develop new approaches
to ensure children’s ‘successful’ future. In contrast to new approaches, the
idea of ‘being well-educated’ is continually transmitted across generations
as one of the most effective strategies to ensure ‘successful’ future, though
its interpretation varies from generation to generation.
The results of various studies show that although children and adolescents
of 2000s get more opportunities brought by globalization, at the same time
they come across new challenges which are often related to social inequality
on the local level. In this contradictory context children tend to declare
aspirations, which seem to be vague and inconsistent. This makes it relevant
to investigate children’s educational aspirations in Kyrgyzstan – the country
which is characterized today by the combination of local circumstances and
global effects which is described by Doris Bühler-Niederberger (2016) as
‘transport of global ideas to local conditions’. The relevance of programs
offered by international organizations, and their effect on the quality of
childhood in local conditions are questionable. International organizations’
DOI: 10.22363/09669-2019-352-360
expectations in terms of childhood seem to be different from Kyrgyz
parents’ expectations. And this can be accounted for by some differences
between individualist society vision and collectivist approaches and
hierarchical generational order (Alanen L., 2009; Bühler-Niederberger D.,
Besides, parent-child relations have considerably transformed, and the
parental role in the formation of children’s educational aspirations has
increased. For example, several decades ago parents’ participation in
children’s school performance was minimal, and today parents take an
active part in gaining school achievements and stimulating academic
success of their children. That is why it is important to consider the
construction of children’s future projects and the formation of educational
trajectories in relation to parental strategies and expectations, using parentchild relations (kinship-relational principle). It should be pointed out that
parent-child relations are considered in the context of hierarchical
generational order of the Kyrgyz society.
For this purpose, the current research employs the intergenerational
approach to explore the structuration of biographic projects in families
(grandparents born in 1940s – 1960s; parents born in 1970s – 1980s; and
children born in early 2000s) in different socio-historical contexts. The main
focus of the research is made on women and girls, whose life styles have
changed more dramatically compared to boys and men.
Narrative interviews with multigenerational family members (grandparents,
parents, children) in 17 families in Bishkek city and 8 families in Osh city
(urban context) showed that parents actively participate in the development
of children’s projects, irrespective of the family socio-economic status.
Several reasons have been declared for this: first, to transmit obtained
resources to the next generation; secondly, to enrich or to hold on to current
socio-economic status of the family; and also to mitigate and avoid possible
instability in their own life and in children’s future life. Besides, no
tendency to individualised biographic projects has been observed in
children‘s narratives, although children are ready to negotiate possible
failures on the individual level taking responsibility for being ‘not good
enough’ in the future. The present study shows that parents and children
consider global and local opportunities, but they do not completely accept
them. Here modernisation encounters restrictions imposed by traditional
family roles.
Keywords: social transformations, value transmission, intergenerational
approach, social inequality, children’s aspirations

Ekaterina Chicherina
Bergische Universität Wuppertal (Sociology of Family, Youth and
Education), Wuppertal, Germany, e-mail:

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