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Animal economics: livestock, pastoralism and capitalism in post-socialist Mongolia

Bristley, JH; (2017) Animal economics: livestock, pastoralism and capitalism in post-socialist Mongolia. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

In Mongolia, a range of activities configures time in a spatial way, something echoed in anthropological and social scientific concerns with various forms of ‘timespace’ (May and Thrift 2001, Bear 2014, 2015). Drawing inspiration from the indigenous Mongol term üye (lit. joint, time, generation), I develop a concept of ‘jointed-ness’ to analyse articulated interconnections between different forms of pastoral (and non-pastoral) timespace. Attending to the interconnections of different fora of spatio-temporalised activity, I reveal the dynamic and emergent nature of a livestock-based economy. Since the end of socialism (early 1990s), subsistence household-based herding has replaced collectives employing salaried labourers. Livestock and animal products, sold at seasonally specific times, form major sources of income in conditions I refer to as ‘animal-originating capitalism’. Exploring how the time of pastoral economic life is spatialised in animals as commodities for sale, my work moves beyond studies of the social origins of commodity status (Appadurai 1986, Kopytoff 1986). I thereby show how current Mongolian human-animal relations are not only indexical of the collapse of collective herding, but motors of new forms of economic life. This thesis has three Parts. Part I explores human-animal relations underpinning pastoral economic life, including views of plenty in livestock (Chapter 1) and the temporality of rural labour (Chapter 2). Part II examines the accumulation of livestock, and how this relates to particular forms of personhood. It examines ethics linking livestock accumulation and masculinity (Chapter 3) and, conversely, how these ethics can be destabilized (Chapter 4). Part III analyses how these economic forms are scaled. It examines the temporalisation of cash loans secured against local livestock (Chapter 5), and how this sense of locality is scaled in relation to national and international trade networks (Chapter 6).

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Animal economics: livestock, pastoralism and capitalism in post-socialist Mongolia
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1566678
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