In the north-eastern corner of Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar, in the neighbourhood of Uliastai, the livelihood of dozens of households has over recent years been seriously affected by the political and economic reverberations from a large
Infrastructure and Ignorance in Peri-urban Ulaanbaatar
Morten Axel Pedersen
Beyond Reciprocity and Obligation in the Ger Districts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
payments, were subject to a temporary stoppage. The confusion of autumn 2016 contains echoes of another far more extended period of ‘transition’, namely the years that followed Mongolia's democratic revolution in 1990 and ushered in the post-socialist era
Framing an Ideology of Pastoral Plenty in Rural Mongolia
relation to Mongolian ethnography surrounding the number tüm[en] and its use in a specific scale of livestock counting used to trace increases in numbers of horses. In the Khalkha Mongol dialect, and in other dialects spoken across the Mongol world, tüm
Shamanism and Belonging in Ulaanbaatar
In the last 20 years, Mongolia’s economy has transformed from a state-run socialist economy with collectivized pastoralism to a highly urbanized market economy experiencing a mining boom. Whereas socialism provided an ideology of progress and
Engaging Humphrey and Laidlaw’s ‘archetypal actions of ritual’, this article explores the thing-like and seemingly externally derived quality of ritualized action in ‘alternative’ medical settings in Mongolia. The cultural rupture of the Soviet era presents a case study in which the continuity of ritualized action cannot be assumed in ritual making during the post-1990 (re)construction of national culture. Elements derived from shared public knowledge have become constituted in ritual more recently and frequently than can be accounted for by an aperture-like model, where previously external elements gradually filtered in. Building on regional literature concerning loss of ritual form and recent syncretic innovation, I suggest that the affordances of form—mobility, iterability, and malleability—capture the politics inherent in the reordering of associations in the making of ritual.
Reflections on an Ethnographic Study of Chinese Infrastructural Projects in Mozambique and Mongolia
Morten Axel Pedersen and Morten Nielsen
Based on two case studies of Chinese infrastructural interventions in Mozambique and in Mongolia, this article introduces the notion of 'trans-temporal hinge' as a heuristic methodological concept that brings together phenomena and events otherwise distributed across time. The authors explore envelopes used when paying Mozambican workers at a construction site in Maputo and roads dividing Chinese oil workers and local nomads in southern and eastern Mongolia as concrete manifestations of trans-temporal hinges. In exploring the temporal properties of these phenomena, we define the trans-temporal hinge as a gathering point in which different temporalities are momentarily assembled. As an analytical scale derived from a specific ethnographic context, we argue that the trans-temporal hinge provides a novel and, quite literally, timely conceptual invention compared with other recent methods of anthropological knowledge production, such as multi-sited fieldwork.
The Work of Hope in Urban Mongolia
Morten Axel Pedersen
Based on fieldwork among Ulaanbaatar's dispossessed youth, this article explores the 'work of hope' in post-socialist Mongolia. Using anthropological writings on presentism and hope as my theoretical point of departure, I show how the concept of hope allows for the potentials of the moment to overflow the possibilities of the present. The article describes a number of lucky-and not so lucky-events that took place during a day spent with a group of young men cruising around the city in an old Cadillac. Hope emerges as a social method for momentarily integrating heterogeneous assemblages otherwise dispersed across the post-socialist city-in this case, people's metaphysical capacities and their economic assets-into chains of creditors and debtors, which are only barely holding together within an overarching context of failure.
A Case Study from a Dukha Reindeer Herder Summer Camp, Khövsgöl Aimag, Mongolia
Madeline E. Mackie, Todd A. Surovell, and Matthew O'Brien
Stone alignments are found worldwide in the archaeological record. As with many archaeological phenomena, these features are often assumed to have been constructed by adults. During ethnoarchaeological fieldwork with Dukha reindeer herders in Khövsgöl Aimag, Mongolia, we observed stone alignments, or “playhouses”, that were constructed by children alongside other stone features that had been constructed by adults. In this paper, we compare stone size and frequency within and between adult- and child-constructed rock alignments. We found that features created by children are characterized by numerous stones of comparatively low weight, while adult features typically have fewer and larger stones. Stones within features created by children also exhibit greater variation in size. We attribute these differences to physical limitations of children and the intended functions of stones in each case. This ethnographic case can serve as a guide for the identification of the authorship of stone features in archaeological contexts.
Plans, Imaginaries, and the Actual State of Railway Projects in Mongolia
Maria-Katharina Lang and Baatarnaran Tsetsentsolmon
” (or “One Belt, One Road” and currently the “Belt and Road Initiative”) with the overall aim of “promoting the integration of Eurasia” 1 in 2013. Russia set up the Eurasian Transport Network in 2014. Consequently, the government of Mongolia proposed
J. Eugene Clay and Anna Bara
Multispecies Households in the Saian Mountains: Ecology at the Russia-Mongolia Border Edited by Alex Oehler and Anna Varfolomeeva (Lanham: Lexington Books; 1 edition, 2019), 296 pages. Hardcover, $95.00. ISBN: 9781793602534. The volume Multispecies