Public Lecture: The Geopolitical Everyday: Capturing Transnational At-tractions in Sympathies of Students in Bishkek and Osh

31 May, 2023

Date:May 31, 2023, 15:00 – 16:00 (Bishkek time, GMT +6)
Venue: Zoom Webinar
Lecturer: Barbara Meier
Registration link:
Language: English
Organizers: OSCE Academy



My presentation illustrates from a feminist, post-colonial point of view, why the everyday should be considered as geopolitical. Taking as a starting point a relational understanding of place (Massey 1991) and an actor-centered understanding of international relations (Enloe 2014) the everyday becomes transnationally influential. The focus of my research in Kyrgyzstan is on transnational aspirations in educational choices of students, e. g. the learning of languages or the interest in a certain study programme. Such opportunities appeal to youth, generating moments of sympathy. I propose the use of the term sympathy parallel to what Quinn (2021) elaborates as “thin sympathy” in contexts of transnational justice, as the “thinnest” possible response – in my case to mediated pictures or information of the “abroad”. Transnational sympathies are geopolitical, as they are the spark that might ignite at-traction in the very bodily sense. I try to capture these sparks in everyday encounters with students in Bishkek and Osh.


Cited Literature:

Enloe, C. H. (2014): Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: Univ. of California Press.
Massey, D. (1991) A Global Sense of Place. Marxism Today, 24–29.
Quinn, J. R. (2021): Thin Sympathy: A Strategy to Thicken Transitional Justice. Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.



15:00 - 15:05   Opening remarks, OSCE Academy moderator

15:05 - 15:35   Report Presentation – The Geopolitical Everyday: Capturing Transnational  At-tractions in Sympathies of Students in Bishkek and Osh,
Barbara Meier, PhD-candidate in Social Geography at the University of Jena (Germany).

15:35 - 16:00    Q&A Session


About the Speaker & the Fellowship

Barbara Meier is a PhD-candidate in Social Geography at the University of Jena (Germany). Holding a scholarship of the Federal State of Thuringia, she investigates quotidian contexts of geopolitics in Post-Soviet space. In her doctoral research Barbara examines the global orientation of university graduates in Bishkek and Osh, with a special focus on educational decisions and consumption of popular culture, combining participatory research approaches and ethnographical fieldwork. Fields of her interest are critical geopolitics, post-colonist and feminist theoretical approaches, visual methodologies, political architecture and their intersections. Besides, Barbara has working experience in international higher education exchange.



The OSCE Academy Associate Research Fellowship (ARF) was launched in 2017 and aims to support PhD Candidates and/or Post-Doctoral researchers in conducting their research projects and provide institutional affiliation to independent researchers. The length of the fellowship is from six to twelve months and is open for Bishkek-based and non-Bishkek residents. The ​Academy provides Fellows ​with ​access to the library and all available online resources as well as ​with ​an opportunity to present their research ​and to​ deliver a lecture to students and the public. The Academy assists the ​A​ssociate Research Fellows to make a presentation on her​/his​ research and to publish their results in one of the OSCE Academy’s  outlets.


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