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university of tampere: faculty of social sciences: research: tampere peace research institute (tapri): staff:
Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Social Sciences
Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI)

Steven Parham

Postdoctoral Researcher - Academy of Finland Project

PhD Social Anthropology (University of Bern, Switzerland)


Email: Steven.Parham(at)

Phone: +358503186069

Office: 113, Atalpa Building, Ratapihankatu 55, 1st floor, University of Tampere

Research interests

  • State borderlands, trans-frontier peoples and networks
  • State power, 'gatekeepers', and borderland elites
  • Socialist and post-socialist ethno-political loyalties and citizenships: discourses and narratives of inclusion into and exclusion from nation and state
  • Border control: legitimacies and bureaucracies of territorial control at the geographic periphery
  • Comparative historiographies of homeland/bordering/belonging
  • Methodologies of rendering states legible for anthropological analysis

Research Areas

  • Central Asia (in particular Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan/Badakhshan, Kazakhstan)
  • People’s Republic of China (Xinjiang Province)
  • Russian Federation (in particular the southern frontiers) and the Caucasus

Current Projects

  • 2012-2015: “Post-Soviet Peripheries in Flux: Local Power and the State in Kyrgyzstan's Borderlands”, post-doctoral research within the framework of the Academy project “Proactive Conflict Management at Post-Soviet Deep Borders” (Principal Investigator: Dr. H. Rytövuori-Apunen, Tampere Peace Research Institute, Finland). Financed by the Academy of Finland.

Past Projects

  • 2012: Preparatory field research in the Russian Caucasus and the Caucasus, focused on the past and present rebordering of territorial-administrative units and non-Russian narratives of belonging on the Caucasus frontier.
  • 2010: Policy-oriented anthropological research on trans-frontier networks and OSCE-funded border control infrastructures in Kyrgyzstan (Ferghana Valley), Tajikistan (Gorno-Badakhshan) and northern Afghanistan. Research and publication commissioned by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (UPI, Helsinki).
  • 2005-6: PhD fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan, People’s Republic of China/Xinjiang, and Tajikistan on trans-frontier Kyrgyz, Pamiri, and Tajik groups. Research financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF, Bern).
  • 2003: MA fieldwork in Kazakhstan, People’s Republic of China/Xinjiang, and Kyrgyzstan on Kazakh borderland lifeworlds. Research financed by the Karmàn Stiftung (Bern).


  • "The Bridge That Divides: Local Encounters with the Changed State in the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Chinese Borderlands". Submitted to Central Asian Survey (decision pending).
  • "Holding the Line in a Land of Borders: Kyrgyz Borderlanders and the Reach of the Soviet and Chinese States". Submitted to Modern Asian Studies (decision pending).
  • “‘Rightful’ versus ‘Real’ Homelands: Changing Concepts of Kyrgyz Boundaries and Belonging on the China-Kyrgyzstan Frontier”. Asian Ethnicity 15(3): 265-285; 2014.
  • Controlling Borderlands? New Perspectives on State Peripheries in Southern Central Asia and Northern Afghanistan. Policy report published by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs UPI-FIIA, Helsinki (Finland); 2010. [Available at]
  • What Lies Between. Controlling State Boundaries and Negotiating Trans-frontier Nations in the Borderlands of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and China. PhD Publication. Bern: Philosophisch-historische Fakultät, University of Bern; 2009 [Available at]
  • Narrating the Border: The Discourse of Control over China’s Northwest Frontier. Published in the Arbeitsblätter des Instituts für Ethnologie, University of Bern, Switzerland; 2004 [Available at publikationen/ab25.html]

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Visiting address: Linna building, 6th floor
Postal address: TAPRI, School of Social Sciences and Humanities
FI-33014 University of Tampere, Finland
tel. +358 (0)3 355 111
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Last update: 17.6.2014 4.28 Muokkaa

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