This article analyses the internal dynamics of identity in one particular settlement which is scrutinised with regard to the nation-building efforts of the Kyrgyz state. The inhabitants have a number of choices from ethnic concepts for their identification processes, depending on their actual situatedness. Jan Blommaert’s approach focusing on “loaded words” and “intertextual asymmetries” has been used as a practical tool to organize the ethnography and to analyse conversations. The article shows how ethnic categories have been understood and used by villagers in everyday life, i.e. on the micro-scale, and how this understanding and usage has been shaped by the macro-scale (Kyrgyzstan). It also shows how identity discourses on the micro-scale may reflect cultural and ethnic notions of larger entities such as nation-states.