It’s rather difficult for a researcher to understand the Kazakh society without sinking into the “zhuz” theme: on what clans and tribes were Kazakhs divided then and now.
Zhuzy – clans, tribes – in Kazakhstan it’s first of all a way of thinking and interpretation of processes and phenomena in the light of genealogical origin.
Inside of every zhuz there is its own system of tribal division. Kazakhs of Senior zhuz divided into 11 tribal groups, Middle zhuz – into 7, Minor zhuz – into 3 intermediate and 25 main groups. Over all three Kazakh zhuzes stood the so-called “blue blood” which consisted of tore Kazakh – Genghis Khan’s descendants, or it’s better say, one of his sons, Dzhuchi Khan’s – and kozha Kazakh – the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad and holy people…
Senior zhuz – Semirechye and South Kazakhstan – saryuysins, dulats, kanlas, etc.
Middle zhuz– East, North and Central Kazakhstan – argyns, kypchaks, naymans, kereys, etc.
Minor zhuz – West Kazakhstan – alimuls, bayuls, zhetyru, etc.
Zhuzes were notable for inner unity among authorities. Every zhuz had a biy. It’s known that in times of Kazakh khanate every zhuz had its khan. Kazakh zhuzes were economic, cultural and political parts of Kazakh nation. During the peace time, most of the internal problems were solved within the very zhuzes. However, it doesn’t mean that there were no political, economic, cultural and ethnic relations between the Kazahzhuzes. Between clans and tribes, engaging in nomadic cattle-breeding, trade relations were starting and marriages were contracted. General ethnic culture, language, domestic and economic unity played a strong binding role. All main issues of domestic and foreign policy were solved on kurultays.