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Project information

Project team

Wladimir Sgibnev



Duration of project

05/2014 – 12/2016

Funded by

Gerda Henkel Foundation

Further information

Wladimir Sgibnev
Tel. +49 341 600 55-161

Artefacts of mobility, artefacts of power

Marshrutkas in Central Asia

Marschrutka in Chudschand, Tadschikistan (Foto: S. Behrendt)

The project delves into the changing constellations of state-society relations in post-Soviet states and its repercussions on urban and regional space production. The research roots in a cultural history of Central Asian minibuses known as marshrutkas, and aims for an actor-centred and space-sensitive analysis of transformation processes in Central Asia. Marshrutkas are being understood as “politicised armature” (Jensen 2009) and “potential venues for new articulations of politics” (ibid.). In this sense, the project sheds light on spatially relevant action as well as its contexts.

The research project takes up the hypothesis that mobility of objects and people alike is a space-defining phenomenon (Urry 2007), both relating to local and translocal actor contellations. This concerns the mobility of marshrutkas themselves, as well as the mobility of objects and people within the marshrutkas. The project is embedded in current discussions on the mobility and power nexus, and strives to become a relevant contribution to a movement-driven social science (Büscher 2009).

The project has started in autumn 2014 and covers a fieldwork grant of 15.000 €. Following a desk research and organisation phase at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Wladimir Sgibnev, the researcher in charge, has conducted an explorative field study in Khujand in northern Tajikistan. This first stage laid the ground for applying for a Volkswagen Foundation grant with a follow-up project entitled „Fluid Mobilities for Cities in Transformation“. The funding by the Gerda Henkel Foundation was thus crucial for the marshrutka research endeavour to set off. The exploratory research also provided the material for a first article, which is currently under review with the “Central Asian Survey”. A second field research phase is scheduled for autumn 2015.


Sgibnev, Wladimir / Vozyanov, Andrey (2016): Assemblages of mobility: the marshrutkas of Central Asia. In: Central Asian survey, 35 (2016), 2, S. 276-291

Sgibnev, Wladimir / Weicker, Tonio (2017): Marschrutki – Chancen und Probleme städtischer Mobilität in Zentralasien. In: Zentralasien-Analysen, 109 (2017), S. 2-6. Website