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Disaster, Mobility, and the Moral Economy of Exchange in Mongolian Pastoralism

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Mongolian pastoralists attempt to reduce dzud (disaster) risk and mitigate its impacts through a variety of strategies including cross-boundary movement. This article explores a case study of cross-boundary movement among Mongolia pastoralists during a dzud disaster event in 2008, and how these movements were accomplished through negotiated formal 'winter otor contracts' as well as informal exchanges with administrators. Moreover, case studies of contract negotiation and exchange are discussed by situating them within local and scholarly debates about corruption in Mongolia. In doing so, the analysis highlights how both tensions between reciprocal ethics of mutual aid and hierarchical tendencies toward patronage shape the outcomes of movement in terms of herd loss and future pastoral viability.
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Keywords: Mobility; Mongolia; corruption; disaster; exchange

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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