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A Chronotope of Expansion: resisting spatio-temporal limits in a Kazakh nuclear town

Alexander, Catherine

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This article starts by anatomising the various strategies used by the Soviet regime to contain and ‘disappear’ the nuclear weapon test site in Kazakhstan before moving on to outline attempts by the independent Republic of Kazakshtan's National Nuclear Centre (NNC) to be more open—including making much of the site available for commercial and agricultural use, after 25 years of remediation and monitoring. Juxtaposing these strategies with accounts from residents living in the town that hosts the NNC provides far more ambivalent engagements with both town and site. Thus, in what I call a chronotope of expansion, what appears is a resistance to any kind of spatial or temporal containment, a denial of progress and the possibility of moving to a brighter nuclear future by leaving behind the Soviet period and its entailments. I end by discussing the consequences of assumptions that the site can be limited and bounded in terms of radioactive contamination.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jul 30, 2020
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Apr 27, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 12, 2020
Journal Ethnos: journal of anthropology
Print ISSN 0014-1844
Electronic ISSN 1469-588X
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 88
Issue 3
Pages 467-490
Public URL


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (1.9 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.
org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is
properly cited.

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