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ISEK - Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Empirische Kulturwissenschaft Ethnologie

Pastoralism in Western Mongolia

Peter Finke


This project summarises 25 years of research on economic transformation and institutional change among pastoral nomads in Western Mongolia. Taking the ethnic minority of Kazaks as a case it analyses individual strategies and social networks as ways of coping with a constantly changing ecological and political enviroment. Key aspects here are the switch from a socialist to a market economy, sequences of natural desasters resulting in heavy livestock losses and the mass emigration to Kazakstan. All this had significant impacts on economic behaviour, the allocation of land rights as well as the conditions for social cooperation. At the same time the study also makes a case for the fundamental flexibility and adaptability pastoral societies have to inhibit dealing with risks and uncertainties.