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Title: The house of meaning : tents and tent dwelling among the Kyrgyz of Central Asia
Author: Bunn, Stephanie Joan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 0847
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2000
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The House of Meaning is a study of the perception of the environment and the organisation of space in the boz üy (tent) of the nomadic Kyrgyz. It examines the boz üy as a core metaphor for Kyrgyz nomadic life and as a matrix for the social organisation of that life. I begin this dissertation with a review of Central Asian nomadic history, considering the age of the early nomads, the 'Orientalism' debate, oral history, lineage and tribal relations, and the Kyrgyz oral epic Manas. I then pose the question, "What is a nomad?" and suggest that in order to understand Kyrgyz pastoral nomadism, we need to consider the importance of movement, human-animal relations and the nomadic philosophy of nature. Following this, I consider learning and tradition, focusing on the importance of the family- and home-based nature of Kyrgyz learning, and on the importance the Kyrgyz place on non-declarative learning for the upbringing of children. Then I examine Kyrgyz shyrdak carpets, considering them in terms of the criteria of beauty, skill, form and meaning, and the context in which they are made. Finally, I examine the Kyrgyz boz üy, the felt tent itself, and, through a consideration of form and space in vernacular architecture, attempt to distil the multi-faceted significance of this seemingly simple form of dwelling. I consider geometry, the notion of 'organic' in vernacular architecture, different anthropological approaches to space in architecture, homeliness and the unfolding relationship between the person, the house and the universe. The Kyrgyz are a nomadic people. Their home moves with them and yet it is a still place, the focus and integrating force of their lives. The Kyrgyz boz üy is a 'house of meaning' because it is a generating point for social forces and a centre for learning and change. It is both a microcosm of the universe and a macrocosm of the person. It provides an essential image of the synthesis and synergy of the lives of a nomadic people.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available