Kathleen Kuehnast is Mellon Foreign Area Fellow at the Library of Congress, teaches at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is a former Research Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
A decade after the fall of state socialism, the economic transformation of Central Asian republics is still deeply troubled. Safetynets in the form of official guarantees of education and health care have been lost. Most vulnerable are women and children. Children lack decent nutrition and are increasingly unschooled. Women grapple with new models of economic social success. The result of so much deprivation is an insecure society rife with alienation and despair. Cultural anthropologist Kathleen Kuehnast explains the larger implications of these circumstances.