Online Temptations: Divorce and Extramarital Affairs in Kazakhstan

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In recent years, the institution of marriage in Muslim Central Asia has undergone profound transformations in terms of religious dynamics, migration patterns, and the impact of globalization. In Kazakhstan between 2014 and 2019, every third marriage ended in divorce. By examining how Muslim Kazakhs’ support for divorce and casual sex is related to their consumption of information obtained on the Internet, mobile phone, and social media, this study contributes to the growing body of literature on the transformative forces of information and communication technology (ICT) in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It uses a mixed-method approach that contrasts wider statistical trends from the World Values Survey Wave 7 country dataset on Kazakhstan with empirical data from focus groups conducted in five different regions of the country in 2019, involving a total of 96 respondents. The findings from the statistical and non-statistical analysis show that frequent exposure to information online influences Muslim Kazakhs’ support for extramarital affairs and divorce. Yet, frequent use of ICTs does not necessarily weaken the institution of marriage. Apart from its effect on university-educated female Kazakh youth, it seems to reinforce traditional understanding of marriage obligations among older generations and young men.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • divorce
  • Kazakhstan
  • Information Technology
  • marriage


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