External Support and Local Agency: Uncertain Transformations of Livelihoods in the Pamirian Borderland of Tajikistan

  • Tobias KraudzunEmail author
Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)


Russian and Soviet (geo-)political interests rendered the Pamirs as a borderland place. This persisting functional perspective framed the people’s experiences and development agency towards the region. This chapter exemplifies how realities of the Soviet economic system’s breakdown, persisting border institutions, as well as external humanitarian relief and development projects influenced individual decisions of people during the transition period. It argues that persisting local narratives about a region dependent on external support combined with uncertainty about economic frame conditions shape peoples’ decisions about coping and adaptation strategies and constrain their livelihood trajectories.


Post-socialist transformation Geopolitics Closed borders Livelihood trajectories Humanitarian relief 



The author is grateful to the Volkswagen Foundation that made the empirical research in the Pamirs possible by funding the research projects ‘Transformation Processes in the Eastern Pamirs of Tajikistan. Changing Land Use Practices, Possible Ecological Degradation and Sustainable Development’ from 2007 to 2010 and ‘Transformation Processes in the Eastern Pamirs of Tajikistan. The presence and future of energy resources in the framework of sustainable development’ since 2012. Many interview partners in Tajikistan have supported my enquiries. All support by interlocutors, bureaucrats and development practitioners living and working in the Pamirs is gratefully acknowledged.

Interview Partners

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  5. RM (2010) Robert Middleton, Berlin, Interviewed 14 Mar 2010Google Scholar
  6. SG (2008) Surhob Garibmamatov, Murghab, Interviewed 18 Aug 2008Google Scholar


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Geography, Department of Earth Sciences, Centre for Development Studies (ZELF), Institute of Geographic SciencesFreie UniversitätBerlinGermany

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