At stake is control over contemporary national culture and the consciousness of succeeding generations. Articulated in political speeches by public personae as well as in trade and academic publications, the family values discourse is aimed at redeeming an imagined past and colonizing the present and future. In pursuit of that aim, many contemporary neoconservatives are judging ideas, artistic genres, and institutions on the basis of a moral imaginary—a mapping of diverse conventions with respect to both family and civic relations within the assumption that those employed by some are more morally worthy than those of others.
In contrast with moralization and thus dehistoricization of particular practices and commitments, C. Wright Mills recognized, in a meditation on the history of the judgments applied to motives before the midtwentieth century, that the warrants for motive attribution are historically contingent. An unknown error has occurred.
These formations intertwine with different ethical projects and hope and expectations of what economic futures might bring. They also provide insight into the relationships that Mongolians have with assemblages of global financial instruments and expectations of growth in larger commodity chains of which Mongolia is a part. This collection of ethnographic studies reveals different aspects of an important overall theme emerging in capitalist Mongolia: the pervasive influence of the interrelationship between processes of making the economy or forms of economization and the way these are shaped by political and social networks.
Taken together, three further sub-themes arise from this interrelationship around which this special issue is structured: the emergence of capitalist ideologies and the state; economic practices and types of collateralization; and the ambiguity of social formations, favours and forms of equivalence. In this introduction we present an overview of these themes by discussing the relationship between definitions and understandings of capitalism and the interrelationship between politics and the economy in Mongolia.
Values in Tension: Ethics Away from Home
While this special issue is based on capitalist economic forms as a conceptual beginning point, we explore how capitalism in Mongolia, like elsewhere, is fluid in ideology and practice. The contributions of this special issue all focus on how the experience of economic forms arising in Mongolia since , and the way that diverse economies have reorganized and reshaped capitalist forms from within Maurer Maurer, B.
Or Dressing It in Mufti? Calculating Alternatives for Cultural Economies. An Economy of Temporary Possession. Malinowski Memorial Lecture. Central to these practices and themes, we argue, is the intense interrelationship between politics and the economy in Mongolia, a phenomenon that is also remarkably pronounced throughout different postsocialist states Bandelj Bandelj, N.
The fine-grained ethnographic analysis of one country provided in this special issue, we argue, is an opportunity to look at some of the different types of social formations shaping such politicization of economic forms, and the types of themes, imaginaries and economic practices they give rise to. This discussion is timely in the context of Mongolia itself, and in postsocialist Central Asia more generally.
Capitalism, its form, its nature, and its benefits and harms, has long been the source of intense debate in Mongolia. Free Up Prices and Dismantle Monopolies. Munkherdene, this volume. These debates have shadowed and formed part of national economic priorities and shifts in Mongolia as a whole. This includes the privatization of state assets after the end of the socialist period in Sneath Sneath, D. Humphrey and R. Mandel , — Oxford : Berg. Oxford; New York : Berg.
Since this growth period, Mongolia has become mired in sovereign debt, and a dispersed and pervasive climate of debt more generally among the Mongolian public that infuses public, private, and personal sectors Batsuuri Batsuuri, H. Internalizing External Debt.
London: UCL Press. Manuscript in preparation. Complementing other studies in the region that focus on large-scale economic and development perspectives Bayulgen Bayulgen, O. Political Atmospheres in the Lead-up to the Parliamentary Elections, Cruel Optimism.
They provide a complementary perspective to previous studies on postsocialist markets Humphrey and Mandel Humphrey, C. Mandel , and C. Humphrey , 1— At the same time, they instigate a discussion of capitalist and neoliberal experiences in Mongolia, of economic growth and decline and the ever-deepening climate of pervasive precarity and uncertainty — a climate that is currently being experienced by people in many parts of the world. This special issue is principally the result of interdisciplinary collaborative research by researchers based at University College London's Department of Anthropology and the National University of Mongolia's Department of Anthropology and Archaeology.
The authors include anthropologists, geographers and social workers. As paired and individual researchers, we conducted fieldwork for this special issue in different parts of Mongolia and shared and compiled our research findings. These collaborative and often interdisciplinary research processes have given us a broader lens through which to look at the extremely complex and changing processes of capitalist experiences in Mongolia. Gibson-Graham Gibson-Graham, J. The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism.
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London: Profile Books. Instead, many people on a daily basis experiment with and draw from different materials and phenomena to create diverse economic encounters, forging the different types of economic futures that make up Mongolian capitalism. These actions, in varying ways, link to multiple types of financialization and commercialization occurring in Mongolia that affect large groups of people. The exact natures of these formations are particular to Mongolia, but are related to the ways capitalism itself appears in diverse ways across other places and countries.
As noted elsewhere, capitalism is an imagined, constructed and entangled cultural product that is inconsistent, uneven and unclear across the globe cf. Humphrey Humphrey, C. Cornell : Cornell University Press. For Anna Tsing Tsing, A. Friction — An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton and Oxford : Princeton University Press.
In Mongolia, while structural interventions were made soon after the end of socialism in by the Mongolian government under the advice of bodies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank Munkh-Erdene Munkh-Erdene, L.
Knauft , R. Taupier , and L. Purevjav , 61 — Ulaanbaatar : Admon Press. Like Bear et al. It is the diversity within capitalism itself that we wish to highlight Empson, forthcoming Empson, R.
Until the beginning of the twentieth century, Mongolia experienced different forms of trade, debt, accumulation of wealth and credit economies Allsen Allsen, T. Studia Historica 7 7 : — Ulaanbaatar : Ulsyn hevleliin gazar. Debt: The First 5, Years. New York : Melville House Publishing.
These phenomena were known and experienced in Mongolia well before the Euro-American forms of financialization and concepts of market and trade became the main modes of making the economy in Mongolia after , and before Mongolia developed much contact with so-called capitalist countries in Europe and America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Bumochir, this volume; Wheeler Wheeler, A. Perry , — London : Routledge. Bruun , and O. Odgaard , 90— Surrey : Curzon. Mongolia's Culture and Society. Boulder : West view Press. This is often interpreted as neither socialism nor capitalism but as a desired, imagined society.
Therefore, aspects of immediate post substantiations of Mongolian democratic society contained elements that were not completely new but updated and modified the versions of Mongolian statehood that arose during late socialism Bumochir Bumochir, D.
Akihiro , 95 — Oxon and New York : Routledge. Burawoy , and K.
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Verdery , 1 — New York : Rowman and Littlefield. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press. What was Socialism, and What Comes Next? In the following we will elaborate two of those terms: zah zeel market and ardchilal democracy , which are often employed to indicate contemporary capitalism in Mongolia. We argue that these alternative terms shape and present features of modern capitalism in Mongolia, a form which features socialist and capitalist elements Bumochir, this volume; G.
In his elaboration of the genealogy of the Mongolian concept of zah zeel , Alan Wheeler Wheeler, A. Instead, zah zeel forms part of the processes of economization occurring in Mongolia. Another term closely linked to capitalism in Mongolia moves this discussion to its political foundations: ardchilal , meaning democracy. In Mongolia, there are two versions of what it can mean. This term not only refers to the engagement and participation of ordinary people in the economy, but also individualization, internalization, agency and most importantly a politicization that occurred under the legitimacy of democratization and liberalization that forms part of Mongolian capitalism.
The intertwined pairing of democracy with capitalism in Mongolia also speaks to its inherently political nature, one which we argue has become increasingly apparent in practice since This also gives us a framework with which to think through forms of economy in Mongolia.
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The Mongolian term for economy is ediin zasag. As Sneath Sneath, D. The understanding in this phrase also applies to the concept of ediin zasag. The foundational aspect of this term emphasizes people governing spheres of economy at the individual, household and state levels. At the same time, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the establishment of democracy, neoliberalism and a free market fuelled this by giving people authority to freely master and govern their own economies at the level of the individual, the household and the state.
This marriage of the economy and politics in the Mongolian concept of ediin zasag very well demonstrates the intertwining relationship of politicization and economization in the modern capitalist form of economy in Mongolia. All the contributions to this special issue show individuals, groups and the state in various forms influencing spheres of economy, and often relying on political networks to do so.
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