The Marshrutka Project:
Fluid mobilities for cities in transformation: spatial dynamics of
marshrutkas in Central Asia and the Caucasus

Minibuses locally known as marshrutkas are a common sight in urban and rural landscapes of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Marshrutka project deals with the role of the marshrutka mobility phenomenon in the production of post-Soviet urban spaces, in and beyond Central Asia and the Caucasus. It provides an empirically founded contribution to the larger discussion on post-Soviet transformation, and fosters a still under-represented view on post-Soviet transformation, highlighting – through the lens of the marshrutka phenomenon – the bottom-up and everyday emergence of new orders in the fields of economy, morale, urban development and migration.

The project takes the shape of a structured PhD programme, which includes five PhD students and one Post‐doctoral fellow. Their complementary projects analyse the bottom‐up emergence of new orders through the lens of the marshrutka mobility phenomenon. The academic partners – five from Central Asia and the Caucasus and five from Germany – engage in establishing a structured PhD programme on the interplay of mobility studies and transformation research. Combining specialists from the fields of geography, ethnology, sociology, history, transportation studies and political science, the project will provide a novel, deep and multi‐faceted insight into transformation processes in Central Asia and the Caucasus, including its spatial, societal and economic effects. The PhD research projects will be carried out under bilateral supervision, including research secondments. The PhD projects will be embedded in a framework of tailored trainings in methodology, theory and transferable skills.The project sees its outcomes in terms of a solid and sustainable transfer of knowledge and methods, from German partners towards the academic institutions in the target regions, and vice versa, strengthened local research capacities and infrastructures, and long-lasting research cooperation.