Ainur Begim: "How to Retire Like a Soviet Person: Informality, Household Finances, and Kinship in Financialized Kazakhstan"

Welcome to a departmental seminar featuring Post doctoral fellow Ainur Begim, Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. 

After the seminar, coffee and snacks are served in our lunch room. The event is open to all, no registration required.

Copyright: University of Oslo


In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, informal financial advisers emerged as a rival to pension funds and commercial banks in Kazakhstan, an oil-rich postsocialist state in Central Asia. In this presentation I examine the conditions of possibility that enabled the rise of informal financial advisers, who promote savings and insurance products. I argue that financial advisers became successful because they were able to address a practical concern – how to protect savings from high inflation– and emotional needs of their clients in the context of Kazakhstan’s financialized economy. Kazakhs are embedded in kin-based systems of mutual assistance which can drain resources away from individual households toward collective needs. Financial advisers position their main product – life insurance – as a way to reassert control over personal finances and protect savings from redistribution. Furthermore, financial advisers capitalize on citizens’ discontent with the state and its management of the financial sphere and tap into people’s faith and trust in personal relations. Enmeshed in each other’s lives, friends and relatives act as social collateral, insuring one another against risks associated with informal investments and offshore accounts. 

Research profile

Ainur Begim is a sociocultural anthropologist with research and teaching interests in economic and political anthropology, finance, natural resources, entrepreneurship, gender, Eurasia and Norway. Her first book project, supported by the US National Science Foundation, concerns financial markets, oil politics, and the state in the former Soviet Union. Aina received her B.A. from Bates College, an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Yale University. In 2016-2017 she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Russian and East European Studies and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to graduate studies, Aina worked as a credit analyst on Wall Street.

Published Aug. 9, 2017 3:46 PM - Last modified Aug. 23, 2017 12:40 PM