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'Living from loan to loan': tracing networks of gifts, debt and trade in the Mongolian borderlands

Waters, Hedwig Amelia; (2019) 'Living from loan to loan': tracing networks of gifts, debt and trade in the Mongolian borderlands. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores the reliance on diverse economic networks in the margins of the neoliberal Mongolian state. Despite wanting to be included in contemporary economic and political narratives, residents of the border town of Magtaal feel largely neglected by the contemporary state and its political representatives. The remoteness of Magtaal, the recent Mongolian economic crisis and the inflation of cash money have submerged the township into a ‘regime of debt’ (Sneath 2012) manifested in what locals call ‘living from loan to loan’—subsisting off temporally-spaced cash influxes from bank loans and other sources. Yet, residents have appropriated these local economic, political and legal ambiguities through the creation of debt-motivated and/or resource extractive networks that engender monetary returns for the township. Through experience living and traveling with cross-border natural resource bulkers, local moneylenders and debt-based trade participants, this thesis explores debt-motivated economic networks that function to mobilize and distribute diverse sources of value. The power of these lies in their ability to bridge the multiple disjunctures between the bank-based formal system and the temporalities and values of the local social world. For one, these networks are driven by bank-based debt, yet enabled by social-based, ‘gift-like’ (Pedersen 2016) debt. Additionally, these chains can ‘translate’ (Tsing 2015) across moral worlds through the inclusion of local registers of patronage, care, assistance and prestige into economic calculi. As a result, these networks are increasingly utilized and morally sanctioned for their provisioning and distribution functions in lieu of the state. But in doing so, cosmoeconomic narratives are reconceptualized to sanction the increasing monetization, financialization and resource extraction in the Mongolian economic landscape.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: 'Living from loan to loan': tracing networks of gifts, debt and trade in the Mongolian borderlands
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068271
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