Changing Strategies, Institutions and Perceptions among Pastoralists in Western Mongolia
Mobile forms of animal husbandry have always been a risky livelihood due to pastoralists’ dependence on highly dynamic natural and social conditions. The situation in Mongolia has become particularly precarious in recent years due to a series of events and challenges. These are ongoing difficulties of transformation and adaptation to a market economy, successive droughts and winter hazards causing severe livestock losses, equivocal changes of the Mongolian land laws, and increasing competition for pastureland with the growing gold mining sector. From the herders’ point of view, prospects of a rural livelihood in Mongolia have arguably changed from a situation of calculable risks to menacing uncertainty. Hence it is doubtful whether pastoralists’ traditional social and economic strategies are still sufficient.
The aim of this project is to investigate the consequences and responses among Mongolian herders in western Mongolia (Khovd and Uvs provinces) outside the central areas near Ulaanbaatar. The main interests are individual socio-economic strategies, including rural-urban migration movements as well as the role of social institutions and networks of mutual support. An additional component is the pastoralists’ own perceptions and meanings ascribed to the changing natural and social environment.
Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zurich
Photo: 1, 2, 3 © Linda Tubach