Security matters in marriage: Uyghurs’ perceptions of security in Xinjiang, China

Ding, M. (2018). Security matters in marriage: Uyghurs’ perceptions of security in Xinjiang, China. Central Asian Survey37(1), 85-99. Link

Abstract

Based on anthropological fieldwork conducted in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China in 2016 and 2017, this article addresses the meanings of security from subjective perspectives by investigating Uyghur perceptions of marriage, which offer crucial insight into the meanings of security. The Uyghurs, as the major indigenous population in Xinjiang, have encountered securitization, particularly since the 2009 Ürümchi riots, deemed the worst ethnic conflict in the region since 1949. While official security practices based on stability have won the support of most Han Chinese citizens in and outside Xinjiang, these same security practices have penetrated to and influenced intimate Uyghur life, such as marriage. Uyghur participants in this research indicate that marriage is a social field in which the official counter-extremism campaign, individuals’ happiness (bext), and the security (bixeterlik) of the Uyghur collective identity encounter and negotiate with each other.

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