Use of Language in Blurring the Lines Between Legality and Illegality

  • Gulzat Botoeva
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


This chapter focuses on the legitimation process of illegal hashish production in a northern Kyrgyz village, Toolu. It argues that language has played an important role not just in neutralising the illegal nature of hashish production but in transforming the meaning of hashish harvesting, which allowed people to reflexively question the illegality of this practice. Words taken from everyday culture, without negative connotations and links to the criminal culture, are used by people to transform the meaning of hashish harvesting, shifting it from illegal and negative into a grey area, where it could be socially accepted. The ‘grey area’ between legal and illegal practices is the framework that lets us to develop a nuanced approach to il/legality and suggests that it is not always possible to separate the legal from the illegal and therefore clearly demarcate the boundaries between them.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gulzat Botoeva
    • 1
  1. 1.University of RoehamptonLondonUK

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