Conference Presentation Abstracts

ALTANGEREL Choijoo, Human Rights Education, Mongolian State University of Education
“Civic Education in Mongolia: Its Importance and Challenges”

This article focuses on the current Mongolian education system and extension of its support or denial of civic education. Current social, economic and political transformations require to be considering education, especially civic education in Mongolia, differently. As the result of the change, civic education is becoming an important component of the formal and non-formal education sector. 
As a whole, Mongolian formal and non-formal education system as well as civil society doing more efforts on civic education that is oriented toward to the international educational standards and global transformation. However, civic education has been facing with new challenges such as understanding of the term, teaching and learning practices and as well as conceptual framework. 
In contemporary Mongolia, the institutionalization of civic knowledge, skills and civic virtues into social context is very crucial issue. In the current world, an approach “education is right response to dealing with issues” is much highlighted. A good civic education programme can be changing both the Mongolian citizen’s mentality and the structure of Mongolian society. The mentality changes will contribute to the transformation of the “authoritarian citizen” into a “democratic citizen” who is aware of his/her rights and duties and acts based on coherent civic knowledge, values and virtues. 
Therefore, the author discusses the main achievements and challenges of the reform of civic education in Mongolia. Finally, the author would like to share his notions on civic education and call for further discussion from researchers, education specialists and policy makers on this issue.

Mátyás Balogh, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
“Ways of Practicing Shamanism in Mongolia”

In the past two decades, a vast number of shamans have appeared and reappeared in Mongolia, and the conceps of shamanism has started to gain more and more popularity. Besides the reivival of genuine shamanic traditions, a kind of Mongolian neo-shamanism came into existence in the 1990s. 
Neo-shamanism in Mongolia is not a result of a movement, united efforts, or common will, it is rather a set of individual activities, and in most cases profit-oriented enterprises. Neo-shamanic activities differ from each other both in content and in form as much as the traditional way of shamanism differs from any of the neo-shamanic practices. 
There are also shamans, who pursue the traditional way of paractising shamanism, especially among the Darkhat and Buryat minority groups. A number of Darkhat and Buryat shamans have moved to Ulaanbaatar with the hope for an easier life and for more opportunities and have started to set up their own religious enterprises just like those born in the city had done. These enterprises are usually called ’Center of Shamanic Activities’ (Böögiin jan üiliin töw) in Mongolian and many of them possess the characteristics of religious institutions.

Some Related Videos:
Buryat shamans' purification 2005
Divination. Part of a Buryat sacrificial ritual. 2004
Tsaatan shaman in Khowsgol. 2005
Uriankhai shamaness in Khowsgol 2005

Borchuluun Yadamsuren, Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri, USA; Catherine Johnson, Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, Canada
“From Socialism to Democracy:  Effects of Transition on the Perception of the Role of Libraries in Mongolia”

This presentation reports on a study that sought to understand the effects of transition on librarians’ perception of their role in Mongolian society.  Ten librarians were interviewed by a native Mongolian speaker (the first author of this presentation) in the summer of 2006 in Ulaanbaatar. The study participants consisted of both public and academic librarians.  
Findings of this study show that libraries are emerging from the difficulties of the transition period, which eroded the role of libraries and resulted in declining library services and readership, severely reduced library budgets, the closing or merging of libraries in rural areas, and the laying off of hundreds of librarians. In contrast to socialist times, currently Mongolian librarians believe that libraries should respond to the demands of its users, provide proactive information services, and help individuals achieve their own personal goals.  The main obstacles they see to achieving the kinds of services they would like to offer are lack of funding, inadequate government policy towards libraries, and centralization of the budget.  The librarians have absorbed many of the attitudes prevalent during economic transition to the point where even the ideals of the socialist period, for instance free service, are seen as obstacles to providing efficient service.

Byambayav Dalaibuyan, Sociology, University of Hokkaido, Japan
“Social Networks in Post-socialist Mongolia: Access, Uses, and Inequalities”

While the studies report the changing role of networks in post-socialist societies, the increasing inequality or polarization of social networks which may lead to greater exclusion and resentment of poor has recently been noticed. The present paper, though it might be a ‘panoramic view’, through analyzing the data from the 2003 and 2006 Asian Barometer Survey with a combination of my field interviews attempts to clarify the access and mobilization of social networks and their differences among socio-demographic groups in post-socialist Mongolia. Social networks were taken in this paper as including both formal and informal ones such as associations and informal groups. In addition, the access and mobilization of networks were examined using the case of tanil tal. The findings show that except the high percentages of membership in political parties, Mongolians reluctant to join formal networks, whereas they are more willing to maintain ties to informal networks. Furthermore, it finds the presence of a significant difference among population groups in regard to the access and mobilization of social networks in Mongolia. The use of networks as a problem solving strategy is linked with the fact that people in public offices uses the authority granted to his/her position as a resource in the relationships with others. A negative perception of the access to public services may justify the use of networks. However it seems that the perception might be rather the effect.

Sarah Combellick-Bidney, Political Science, University of Indiana, USA
“We Would Not Choose These Terms: Mongolia’s Mining Controversy and the Politics of Place”

Since 2002, Mongolia’s mineral resources have been drawing significant international attention. Trans-national mining corporations have been flocking to Mongolia and mineral markets have been favorable. But, after initially drawing up contracts with mining companies, the government stalled in the face of domestic opposition. How did critics make their voices heard above those of transnational corporations and powerful domestic actors with a stake in maintaining the investment climate? Using original data from interviews with 40 political and civic leaders in Mongolia, I identify the framing that structured in the mining disputes. I find four frames participants used to reflect their primary concern with regard to development – economic investment, share of profit, transparency, or local effects. I examine the dynamics of these frames to show how critics engage in the “politics of place” to contest the terms and conditions of development, ultimately suggesting that mining is a high-stakes arena in which Mongolians are contesting the meaning and fate of their land.

Rebecca Darling, Asia Foundation, Mongolia
“Developing a Responsible Minerals Sector that Benefits All Mongolians: A Multi-Stakeholder Approach”

Nearly 20 years since emerging from Soviet control Mongolia continues to build a democratic and free market economy and move toward a less centralized government.  An empowered civil society is contributing to governance, transparency and accountability, .  As a resource rich country, the intensification of mining activities has created opportunities and need for industry, government and civil society to collaborate in natural resources policy-making and decision-making, to engage in promoting responsible mining that benefits all Mongolians. This paper looks at the challenges and successes of a multi stakeholder approach to the development of a responsible minerals sector in Mongolia.  Hurdles include the rise of civil society rights and responsibilities that have potentially outpaced capacity, and a lack of empiric knowledge with which civil society can participate knowledgeably in dialogue, and then act. Successes involve local and national level Multi-Stakeholder Forums that have begun to raise the level of discourse, transparency and accountability in the development of the minerals sector.  This paper also considers future desired outcomes of long term, strategic multi-stakeholder engagement that ultimately leads to the development of a robust responsible minerals industry that benefits all Mongolians.

Johan Elverskog, Southern Methodist University, USA
“Theorizing Christianity in Mongolia”

In the eyes of many the post-socialist religious revival in Mongolia was supposed to usher in a glorious age of the Dharma. Indeed, many understood the return of Gelukpa Buddhism as a fundamentally "good thing," and as a return to the "natural order" after seventy years of madness. Which may be true, however, in making such a supposition there are inherent contradictions with not only the Mongolian government's stated claim of pluralism, but also the realities of globalized religions in the contemporary world. The aim of this paper is thus to explore this contradiction, its genealogies, and its implications by looking at the case of Christian missionaries in Mongolia. 

Joakim Enwall, Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, Sweden
“Minority Policies and Inter-Ethnic Relations in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia”

The present paper deals with the development of minority policies in Mongolia since independence from China, and focuses on the effects that these policies have had on inter-ethnic relations. The main groups studied are the Khalkha Mongols, the Kazakhs, the Tuvans and the Han Chinese. The definitions of these groups as either ündesten or yastan have also varied over time, which has created theoretically interesting complexities. The inter-ethnic relations between Tuvans and Kazakhs living in the province of Bayan-Ölgii in western Mongolia have hitherto been touched upon mainly in works on either Tuvans or Kazakhs living in the area. The present paper contains a sociolinguistic study of the inter-ethnic relations, with particular emphasis on education, culture, media and publishing. Furthermore, the tendency of the Tuvans to identify ethnically with the Mongols rather than with the Kazakhs is analyzed from the point of view of a sub-minority – majority identification theory. Generally, however, inter-ethnic relations in Mongolia have contained fewer conflicts than in most countries. In Inner Mongolia, by contrast, the inter-ethnic relations are more problematic, and there are also severe tensions between the Mongols of Inner Mongolia and those of Mongolia. Furthermore, the issue of relations between Mongols and Han Chinese will be discussed both within the framework of minority policies of the People’s Republic of China and those of Mongolia, especially in the 1980s. These policies have also played an important role in the development of the inter-state relations between Mongolia and the People’s Republic of China.

Erdenetuya Urdnast, History, Mongolian State University of Education, 
“En Masse Migrations Towards the Capital and Ecosystem Degradation”

This paper is aimed to demonstrate how socio-economic transition in Mongolia has negatively impacted on urban ecosystem. According to human ecological view, human migrations, new technologies, urbanization and etc. are considered main factors to cause unsustainable human-ecosystem interaction. 
For centuries the Mongols had farmed mobile animal husbandry and used livestock products rather than natural sources, such as using of cow dung as fuel. The territory has sparsely been populated because of  the low carrying capacity of Inner Asian ecosystem… In socialist period “to be a citizen of the capital was considered as matter of reputation” and Ulaanbaatar citizenship was restricted for country people. 
Even though, since 1990’s en masse migrations of rural residents to the capital have been intensfied, consequently ecosystem degradation has increased. The settlers encounter difficulties to adapt new ecosystem. To surviving and improving life condition they “invade” to natural resources. Newcomers’ settlements have been expanding to outskirts of Ulaanbaatar. Land privatization enables to own 0.7 hectares of land for every single household. Thus, both newcomers and “native-town-dweller ” “have to” cut trees to build wooden cabin, shed and lavatory, enclose own land, provide fuel and gain profits… Not only the city but also central regions are densily populated because of the migration along with pasture degradation and environmental pollution have increased…

Marie-Dominique Even, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France
“Religious Pluralism versus Cultural Identity in Mongolia”

After centuries of monopoly by Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia, followed by over half a century of radical secularisation and atheist policy in communist Mongolia, the 1990 transition to democracy has created a new era of religious plurality. Alongside the revival of local religions (Shamanism and Buddhism), dozens of foreign religions and religious movements of which the most numerous and zealous are Christian protestants of various denominations have since been active in the country. Faced to this unexpected phenomena, officials and scientists oppose “traditional” and “non-traditional” religions (foreign religions). The latter represent a rich, modern and influent Western world, and  their access to the mainly young population is made easier by the fact that neither Shamanism nor Buddhism prevent religion shifting. Mongolian lamas are also challenged by Western-style Buddhist foundations promoting a more individual and spiritual approach to Buddhism. In regulating religious plurality, post-communist Mongolian state applies ready-made Western models of separation between church and state and advocate balanced treatment of religions, but, at the same time, support the preeminent traditional religions – mainly Buddhism – as congruent with Mongolian fundamental values and culture. Religion is therefore apprehended as a means of reenforcing social links and situating the people in a shared history. In this respect the conversion of young Mongols to non-traditional religions reflect not so much a denomination switching than a cultural one, and as such can be seen in Mongolia as a threat to identity and “spiritual independence” of the country.

Mette High, Anthropology, London School of Economics, UK
“Living Outside the Law in the Mongolian Gold Mines”

This presentation brings together issues of new economic practices, legal reforms and moral conviviality in Mongolia. Specifically, the presentation focuses on the current gold rush, which is estimated to directly involve more than 20% of the country’s rural workforce. Informal sector mining has grown significantly over the last few years and it has today become a national phenomenon that state legislators can no longer afford to ignore. With support from the formal mining sector, multilateral aid agencies and local interest groups, the Mongolian parliament has been strongly encouraged to follow in the footsteps of other countries and initiate the legalization of the informal mining sector. However, despite such advice and support, there is still no law on artisanal and small-scale mining in Mongolia. Based on legal and ethnographic data, I consider the recent historical changes in culturally validated forms of human engagement with the land and its riches. Drawing on anthropological fieldwork in the mines of Uyanga sum, Övörhangai aimag, I attempt to concretize the point at which gold rush mining enters the ranks of illegality. By recognizing both the economic and social projects that artisanal miners engage in, I demonstrate how we are better able to understand the long-standing reluctance to begin the advised legalization of the Mongolian gold rush.

Raffael Himmelsbach, Political Science, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
“Collaborative Pasture Management, a Solution for Grassland Degradation in Mongolia?”

This paper discusses the current developments in grassland governance towards more collaborative forms of pasture management between the local administration and herder groups. Since the late 1990s, donor agencies have implemented a number of herder group pro jects as part of their rural development strategy. The aim of these pro jects is grassland conservation by initiating the formation and training of organized local stakeholder communities. A law is in preparation, inspired by these donor pro jects. Its purpose is the institutionalization of herder groups as an agent of grassland management and conservation, and the provision of possession contracts for winter and spring pastures to these groups. In the natural resource management literature, scepticism is expressed as to whether the devolution of management competences to local user groups achieves the targets of resource conservation and poverty alleviation. It is argued that devolution of substantial competences to resource user groups is problematic because cohesive groups have exclusionary tendencies vis-à-vis other members of society, which ultimately produce negative effects for social equity and conservation targets. Against this theoretical backdrop and in the historical context of pasture governance in Mongolia, the implications of the proposed Pastureland draft law are scrutinized by drawing on published research, grey literature and fieldwork conducted in summer 2008 in Selenge aimag. It is argued here that grassland management should not only concentrate on herders and local government, but should also consider the role of other private actors in the rural economy. Further, questions emerge as to how herder groups can be formed without donor assistance and how potential exclusionary tendencies can be dealt with.

Christopher Kaplonski, Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge, UK
“Forgetting the Lamas: The Politicization of Death in Post-socialist Mongolia"

This paper examines what I term the politicization of death in Mongolia.   By this term I seek to draw attention to the telling discrepancy between how the repressions of the 1930s were presented and understood at the time and how they are portrayed in Mongolia after the collapse of socialism and the reasons behind this.  In particular, in an almost total reversal of representation, political figures are given much more prominence in current accounts while the deaths of thousands of lamas are downplayed.  I suggest that while not reducible to a single factor, an examination of the memory politics involved in this shift highlights a number of elements which include state-building, the disjuncture in the memories of the lamas and the success of socialist-era propaganda.  These elements combined to effect the (re)politicization of the memory of the repressions charted here.  In exploring the particularities of the Mongolian case, I also highlight the broader issues of agency, explanation and historical contingency and their impacts on memory and representation.

Matthew King, University of Toronto, Canada
“Finding the Buddha Hidden Below the Sand: Dynamics and Complexity in the Revivalism of Mongolian Buddhism”

This paper explores Mongolian Buddhist revivalist movements by drawing upon ethnographic work done within one monastic and lay network in both rural and urban settings in 2005 and 2007. It begins by offering a brief sketch of Mongolian Buddhist history prior to and during the devastating rule of the Soviet backed Mongolian People’s Republic, up to the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the Mongolian democratic revolution of 1990. The paper then presents research data on contemporary revivalism in two sections, the first attempting a general survey of current socio-cultural features in the country which shape Buddhist revivalist movements (capitalism, Christianity, changing rural demographics, Tibetan influence), the second presenting ethnographic work done with one young Gobi desert incarnate lama (Tib. sprul sku, Mon. hutagt) and his monastic, familial and lay circle. This ethnographic data focuses on the strategies used by this particular religious leader and his community to build and recreate Buddhist institutions within a complex, multi-faceted ideological landscape. In particular, data drawn from a ‘Buddhism for Young People’ camp conducted at this Gobi monastery is described in order to elaborate on some pluralisms, dynamics, tensions and strategies in the current Buddhist revivalism of Mongolia. The conclusion of this paper analyzes subtleties of the innovative strategies of Buddhist revivalist movements in contemporary Mongolia, the relationship between religious narrative building and nationalism, and the need for dynamic theoretical paradigms to properly account for the density and variation of Mongolian Buddhism today.

Gaëlle Lacaze, Ethnology, University Marc Bloch, France
“Run After Time”

Since the 1990's, the Mongolian trans-frontier traders are most active in Chinese and Russian frontiers. The development of this kind of trade takes place in the context of progressive opening of the Mongolian southern frontier and is possible due to the lack of infrastructures able to convey industrial goods to Mongolia. Since the year 2000 and the beginning of my post-doc. research, I am in regular contact with Mongolian trans-frontier traders and am analyzing various aspects of their trade: techniques of body, techniques of movement and conceptions of trans-frontier places. In the year 2002, I made a fieldwork partially focused on the Mongolian Kazakh traders activities. Then, in the year 2007, I realized a fieldwork at Mongolian-Chinese frontier (Ereen - Zamyn üüd). The Kazakh traders activities and their circulatory roads compared with the Mongolian traders ones illustrate the emergence of new ways of exchange, the opening of new circulatory roads based on re-known kinships and relatives. The different actors of the passage of the frontier develop many strategies in order to adapt to its strict rules. The corruption being a major component of the system.
The trans-frontier places reveal the drivers and traders typical ways of being. This category of person controls several kinds of movements and uses special techniques of alimentation. They are involved in a "quest" through a foreign world while running after time to find "the good", the most fashionable one and the best quality for the best price.

Zsuzsa Majer, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
“Present-day Mongolian Buddhist Temples: Continuation or Disjuncture with the Past and the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition”

A survey, on-going since 2005, reveals that there are around 36 operating temples in Ulaanbaatar (latest count shows 25 Yellow Sect including one nunnery and two women’s centres, 10 Nyingmapa including one women’s centre and 1 Kagyüpa). Most are completely new foundations i.e. established by individulas after the democratic change (till 1990 practice of religion was forbidden for 50 years after the purges and massacres of the 1930’s). Only a few are revived old temples on the same site or on new sites. Three of the temples were opened in 2007, signaling that the revival and dissemination of religion is still in progress.
In personal visits to the temples data was gathered about their foundation, community (head, titleholders and vows of lamas) and details of religious practice and the ceremonial cycle. Further information was collected on their legal framework and day to day operation: how a new temple in the capital is established, how its community is formed, and how it manages to operate. 
The paper will explore the issues surrounding the re-establishment of the Buddhist temples and the extent to which it is following or adapting from the past: 
Registration of temples / permission for operation: The main monastery, Gandan does not have authority to give operational permissions. Religious institutions have to be registered with the Ministry of Law and Interior, but about half of the Buddhist temples in Ulaanbaatar are not registered.
Criteria for founding a temple: As temples do operate without being registered, any lama can establish a monastery and be its head, if he is able to find other lamas who accept him as head, and if he can find a place for everyday chantings even if this is a yurt.
Number of monks in the communities: In many temples there are only one or two adult lamas (with the biggest monasteries having 500 and 160 monks and an average temple around 10). From the Buddhist point of view, four gelen, fully-ordained lama would be necessary to form a Sangha (this criteria is fulfilled only in 3 of the 36 monasteries).
Problem of purity of vows or the ’different interpretation of vows’ in Mongolia: Thinking strictly in terms of breaking or holding the vows, around 80 percent of ‘lamas’ in the Mongolian monasteries are not lamas (though they are all called ’lam’, wear the monastic robes and are considered full members of the assembly): either as having only genen (laymen) and not real monastic vows, or most commonly being married despite having monastic (getsel) vows which includes the vow of celibacy (prescribed in Vinaya monastic discipline). 
Mobility, survival: Survival is not easy for small communities. It effectively depends on the donators, and on the income from reading texts for individuals. New communities usually set up their activities in a yurt and erect the temple building later. During the survey six temples were operating in yurts. Closing down and relocation is a common occurrence: one of the temples visited closed down, one assembly was temporarily not working due to it relocating, two others were able to continue their ceremonies while relocating.
’Quality’ of religious education: Larger monasteries have their own schools, colleges or classes and may have residing Tibetan masters. ’Traditional’ education is conducted in the monastic colleges in Gandan complex, but this is still far from being authentic. Lamas are sent to study in the monastic colleges in India, but usually not for more than one year, which is inadequate in a system originally containing about 20 years of study. 
Hypotheses about the social and historical causes of the above problems or deficiencies are presented as well as the impact on different aspects of religious activities and ceremonial system.

Manduhai Buyandelgeryin, Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
“Technologies of Election: Gender, Media, and Women’s Participation in the Parliamentary Election of 2008”

The paper explores some of the experiences of female candidates in running for seats in the recent parliamentary election of 2008 as well as the populace’s reactions and opinions regarding the campaigning and performances of these candidates. This presentation is part of a larger project that traces the transformation of the socialist state into a neoliberal one from a gendered perspective by concentrating on electoral processes. It seeks to understand the ways in which incipient neoliberal capitalism structures the issues of gender and power differently than state socialism. The research indicates that the images and discourses about the possibility of the presence of female legislators in the parliament tend to dissipate among the populace as well as among the heads of political parties, but for distinctly different and multiple reasons. 
For instance, among the populace, the limited media images of women as decision makers, as well as a lack of opportunities for citizens to learn about overall legislative processes and the roles of MPs, tend to create ideals of superhero women which do not accommodate the existing female candidates. Findings in the realm of the political parties suggests that, while fewer women were elected as MPs than ever before due to a complex set of circumstances and new electoral legislatures, the two major political parties have been highly strategic in using their female candidates to aid the success of their parties. While the abstract category of women as trustworthy and perseverant elevates the credibility of the parties, individual female candidates tend to provoke highly critical opinions among the populace especially in contrast to routinely accepted male figures. The repercussions of socialist propaganda about the absence of gender inequality coupled with the new structures of economic disparity, media, and tradition have played at least a partial role in the experiences of female candidates in the recent elections.

Mungunsarnai Ganbold, Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency, Mongolia; Thomas Spoorenberg, Economic History, University of Geneva, Switzerland
“Did the Social and Economic Transition Cause a Health Crisis in Mongolia? Evidence from Age-, Sex- and Cause-Specific Mortality Trends (1965-2007)”

Many studies document the recent changes in health conditions and mortality patterns in countries of 
former USSR and Eastern Europe. Broadly and shortly said, the end of socialism and the transition to 
democracy and market economy affected more male health conditions than the female one and had a 
more dramatic impact in the former USSR countries than in Eastern European ones. However, the
recent mortality crisis is indeed the final step of a health deterioration process started already in the 
1960s. While the body of literature on health and mortality changes in former socialist countries is
growing, still almost nothing is known about Mongolia. Because Mongolia shared various common 
characteristics with other former socialist countries, among which a similar health system, it is likely 
that the country presents very comparable mortality trends and that health conditions deteriorated
during the social and economic restructuration in the 1990s. Through the double lens of long-term 
trends in general and age-specific mortality levels and international comparison, this paper shows that, 
as elsewhere in former USSR and Eastern European countries, male health in Mongolia stopped to 
improve before the end of socialism, as the result of the inability of the health system to cope with the 
changes in the epidemiological context from infectious to degenerative diseases. However, in 
Mongolia, maybe more than in any other countries, the transition to democracy and market economy 
affected deeply mortality trends. Analysis of age-specific mortality reveals that since the 1990s male 
health deteriorate significantly. Most recent data for 2005-07 indicate that this health crisis is far from 
being recovered. These results are then discussed and interpreted in the light of the experiences of 
former USSR and Eastern European countries.

Naranchimeg Jamiyanjamts, Public Health Science, University of Alberta, Canada
“Quality of health care services in relation to health service utilization
by adolescents in Mongolia”

Oyuntogos Lkhasuren, Preventative Medicine, Health Sciences University of Mongolia
“Mining Health in Mongolia”

Mongolia’s mining sector is a major contributor to the economy, accounting for about 17 percent of the GDP, 65 percent of industrial value added, and 58 percent of export earnings. Mining production has accounted for around 50% of the gross industrial product in Mongolia since 1998. Mongolia’s geology is complex and its mineral potential vast. There are over 6,000 known mineral showings/ deposits of 80 different minerals such as coal, gold, fluorspar, copper and molybdenum. 
Dust-induced chronic bronchitis and pneumoconiosis currently account for the largest relative share (61.9%) of occupational diseases in Mongolia, and the number of cases is increasing annually. Between 1967–2007, there were 8.900 medically diagnosed cases of occupational diseases in Mongolia. Of these, 5.527 were confirmed cases of dust-induced chronic bronchitis and pneumoconiosis. Of the nearly 1,000 cases of pneumoconiosis in Mongolia in 2007, the majority were attributed to anthracic-silicosis (47.6%) and silicosis (47.9%). Since 2000, 82% of the diagnosed cases of occupational lung disease in Mongolia have come from coal mines and power plants; a further 11% came from construction and industries producing construction materials, 3% from manufacturing, 0.7% from social services, and 0.8% from agriculture. Moreover, it is likely that many cases go unreported, especially in the small-scale, informal mining sector which is not included in the official reporting system. 
In Mongolia, between 2000 and 2007, the occupational accident rate was 37.6 per 100,000 workers and the occupational accident rate in the mining sector was 297.14 per 100,000 workers. The average fatality rate in the mining sector was 78.6 per 100,000 miners. 
Many of the informal miners are diagnosed with of work related illnesses, including musculoskeletal disorders (37.7%), respiratory illnesses (16.1%), and eye diseases (10.4%). A total of 78.5% of informal miners were injured during thier engagement. There is currently no data available on the prevalence of occupational lung diseases within the informal gold mining sector, nor are work-related illnesses or industrial accidents officially reported to local authorities or health authorities. 
The strategy for preventing occupational disease and injury in the mining industry needs to focus on set standards enforcement; professional assistance, research, surveillance, training on OSH, improvement of quality and access to health examination. There is a need to implement and expand specific programs in national and mining level such as silicosis elimination program and healthy workplace initiatives.

Anne Riordan, Special Education, University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA
“Education for Students with Disabilities in Mongolia: Teachers’ and Stakeholders’ Perspectives”

In light of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), focus on “Universal Primary Education,” it is important to understand to what extent current Mongolian practices align with the 2nd Millennium Development Goal as it relates to inclusive education, and the factors that influence it. Through qualitative interviews and focus groups with teachers and stakeholders in the capital (Ulaanbaatar) and in two provincial centers, we can begin to understand how these groups shape their ideas about disabilities, and the factors that influence the way they understand disability. Using an interpretivist perspective (LeCompte & Shensul, 1999) allowed me to examine how each participant understood issues in education and disability within their context. As Mongolia changes, so are perceptions of disability. This paper is based on thesis research supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and was conducted in Mongolia August 2007- July 2008. It gives a sample of the emergent themes from the interviews and offers recommendations for areas of focus and further research. Data is presented that can be used to inform educational policy and practice concerning education for students with disabilities in Mongolia.

Morris Rossabi, Columbia University, USA
“Modern Mongolia: The Contemporary Descendants of the Khans and the Revival of Buddhism”

A description and analysis of the political, economic, and cultural developments in Mongolia since the collapse of communism in 1990.  Special attention devoted to Buddhism and other religions in modern Mongolia.

Paula Sabloff, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, USA
“Democracy and Risk”

Mongolia’s 1989-1990 Democratic Revolution and 1992 Constitution stimulated rank-and-file Mongolians to rethink their own conceptualization of democracy. When my Mongolian colleagues and I conducted cognitive anthropological research in 1998 and 2003, I found their ideas were still in flux. I also discovered that they often discussed democracy in the context of economic risk, which had devolved from the state to families and individuals in the 1990s. Although the interviews exhibit little correspondence between their hopes and fears for the future and either political rights or citizens’ duties, they do associate risk perception with both economic rights and government’s responsibility to the people. Because economic rights and government responsibility are so integral to peoples’ perception of democracy, risk perception is also. One might say that risk perception affects their particular interpretation of democracy, causing them to highlight the rights or characteristics of democracy that help them adapt to the international market economy. But their risk perception also keeps alive their desire that government support individuals as they prepare for participation in the market economy and help segments of the population—the young, old and poor—from falling into abject poverty. 

Temuulen Tsagaan Sankey, Geographic Information Systems, Idaho State University, USA;Keith Weber
Geographic Information Systems, Idaho State University, USA; Joel Sankey, Geosciences, Idaho State University, USA
“Changes in Pastoral Use and Their Effects on Rangeland Productivity”

After the democratic changes in 1992, formerly state-owned livestock collectives were disbanded and Mongolia’s livestock population was privatized.  There was no longer a state institution to formally regulate pasture use and herders became responsible for pasture use management.  We studied the changes in pastoral land use management in Tsahiriin tal of northwestern Mongolia and their effects on rangeland vegetation productivity by estimating Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a remote sensing satellite-based approach.  We estimated NDVI from the collective (pre-1992) and post-collective (1992-present) period using six different Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite images and compared the mean NDVI estimates from the two periods.  Our results indicate that three major changes occurred in pastoral land use management.  First, grazing distribution changed from localized clusters to a more evenly distributed pattern.  Secondly, the grazing animal species changed from predominantly sheep herds to herds of sheep, goats, cattle, and horses.  Third, grazing intensity increased by over 800 animal units.  Our results also indicated that NDVI values from the post-collective period are significantly lower than the NDVI values from the collective era indicating that rangeland productivity might be declining in Tsahiriin tal.  This decline in NDVI might be largely associated with the increased grazing intensity from the collective era to the post-collective period.   

Troy Sternberg, Geography, Oxford University, UK
“Twilight of Mongolian Pastoralism?”

Throughout its long history on the Inner Asian steppe pastoralism’s adaptive livelihood strategies have ensured its viability. Today changing environments, socio-economic factors, and herder motivations challenge traditional pastoralism in Mongolia.  To understand current processes in the countryside knowledge of herder livelihoods and behaviour is essential.  Through extensive on-site interviews this survey establishes herder-livelihood approaches and interaction with the physical landscape.  Results emphasize the importance of both number and distance of moves on herder welfare. In contrast to collective-era homogeneity herders now act independently, employ varied livelihood strategies, are motivated by economic factors, and do not see herding as a career choice for their children.  At the same time traditional foundations – communal land stewardship, independent decision-making, and mobility remain valued.  Pastoral differentiation occurs along several dimensions, including age, education, number and type of livestock, and location.  Concerns are both physical - lack of water sources, variable pasture quality, low precipitation – and socio-economic – limited income sources, expenses, evolving perceptions and motivations, and a lack of government support.  Interaction with modern society, including access to vehicles, technology, and education, is viewed as contributing to pastoral viability in the 21st century.  For current and future policy, management, and development efforts to be effective identified herding realities need to be acknowledged and addressed.

Ines Stolpe, Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-University, Germany
“Changing Concepts of Mongolian Educational Philosophy”

Krisztina Teleki, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary
“Building on Ruins, Memories and Persistence: Revival and Survival of Buddhism in the Countryside”

The lecturer participated in fieldwork in Öwörkhangai, Dundgow’ and Töw provinces within the framework of the Documentation of Mongolian Monasteries project organized by the Arts Council of Mongolia in 2007. The lecture will discuss the different aspects of the concerns experienced in the countryside 18 years after the revival. Although after half a century of repression the old monks who have survived the demolition of monasteries and the Communist purges of the 1930s managed to rebuild some monasteries and transmit the old traditions based on their reminiscences, today the most serious problem is how these practices can be preserved. 
Current conditions of 150 old monastic sites were documented in the three provinces. Traces of unauthorized digging can be seen on many sites as they are completely abandoned and are exposed to treasure hunters, instead of excavation, protection and rebuilding. 40 monasteries have been (re)opened in the area since 1990. However, today only 17 are still active. Others are used for only monthly or annual ceremonies and 9 are totally inactive. As the old monks have been passing away the novices remain without masters, become lay and scatter in all directions. It became clear from the 75 interviews recorded with old monks that besides their memories about the vivid religious life of the past it was their persistence that enabled the revival. The lecture reflects the questions: how the cultural heritage of the past can be preserved and how Mongolians could keep the revived Buddhist tradition alive.

Caroline Upton, Geography, University of Leicester, UK
“Mining, Resistance and Pastoral Livelihoods in Contemporary Mongolia”

In the twenty-first century policy and practice in Mongolia’s pastoral sector have been dominated by donor concerns with the formation of local herders groups or ‘communities’ and the implementation of group tenure solutions to post-collective issues of pasture regulation and management. However, despite the promise of more secure land rights embedded in such approaches, the escalation of mining activities in rural areas have recently prompted the emergence of herder-led resistance movements in direct response to mining-related land alienation and degradation. This paper addresses critical overlaps and lacunae in discourses and practices associated with herders’ livelihoods and land rights, mining and emergent social movements. Through analysis of longitudinal datasets from herders in central and southern Mongolia, this paper charts the emergence of donor-initiated, formalised herders’ groups and their effects on inter-household norms of trust, cooperation and collective action. Empirical material is further employed to examine the role and efficacy of development-led herders’ groups in shaping herders’ land rights and practice and to explore the role of herders’ groups and emergent social movements in facilitating resistance to mining incursions. The paper asks whether the social capital embedded in herders’ groups or ‘communities’ is readily transferable into the highly politicised arena of new social or resistance movements and highlights the conditions shaping and constraining the emergence of these new forms of civil society in rural, post-socialist contexts.

Cynthia Werner, Anthropology, Texas A&M University, USA ; Holly Barcus, Geography, Macalester College, USA
“Networks, Gender, Culture, and the Migration Decision - Making Process:  A Case Study of the Kazakh Diaspora in Western Mongolia”

Mongolia’s rapid political and economic transitions of the 1990s parallel regional-scale reorganization of territories and peoples following the Soviet Union's collapse. One striking development is the movement of populations: ethnic groups, separated from their imagined homeland, have started to repatriate these lands – decisions that profoundly affect sending and receiveing communities. The processes by which potential migrants decide whether or not to migrate is dependent upon economic, cultural, social, familial, and perceptual factors as well as upon the broader national and global contexts in which these decisions are made. This study investigates the migration decision-making process among the Kazakh community in western Mongolia in relation to post-Soviet migration to Kazakhstan. In addition to economic drivers of migration, our research focuses on the influence of place attachment, gender, and kin-based social networks on the migration process for Mongolian Kazakhs.  Data come from semi-structured interviews and life history interviews conducted in 2006 and 20081 in  western Mongolia.  Our research strengthens the theoretical understanding of migration processes and the interdependencies of economic and cultural factors that influence these decisions. We contend that cultural factors play a pivotal role in determining the migration decision, one that has been poorly addressed in studies that rely exclusively on quantitative data. This project builds upon existing interdisciplinary scholarship on migration decision-making, with special focus on literatures related to immobility and place attachment, gender and transnational migration, social networks and remittances, and migration in post-Soviet settings.

Astrid Zimmermann, Social Anthropology and Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge, UK
“Local Leaders Between Obligation and Corruption: The Discourse of 'Moral Decay' and 'Eating Money' in the Mongolian Province”

My presentation deals with a contemporary moral discourse surrounding public sector institutions in Mongolia. It refers to a perceived ‘moral decay’ in professional standards, commitment to work and socialist values. The focus is on the decision-making practices of state-institutional leaders in the province and the ways in which they negotiate employment, spending and fundraising. This will help to understand the distinctive social, political and economic configurations that have led to a) the reinforcement of notions of familial obligation, b) a continuation of the socialist economy of ‘support’, and c) the emergence of a critical awareness of certain types of ‘corrupt’ behaviour.
The paper has three aims. Firstly, based on material from Hovd city, Western Mongolia, I set out to give a detailed description of current everyday practices which are perceived as illegitimate and discuss the different social groups and relationships relevant to these. The attempt is to trace the local realities of allotting jobs to relatives, the embezzlement of monies and various forms of institutional and individual gift-giving/bribing. Secondly, by looking at work life from an anthropological perspective, I try to follow the boundaries local people set in terms of morality. Of particular interest, here, are the key concepts of ‘eating money’ (möngö ideh) and ‘kith and kin’ (ah düü nar). Both notions seem to be at the crossroads of a new post-socialist discourse of corruption – or, in the local reading: ‘moral decay’ – and older forms of obligation and community–mindedness (hamt olon). I shall argue that in today’s ‘era of the market’ local leaders (darga nar) often find themselves in a dilemma between obligation and corruption. Thirdly, from a theoretical point of view, I understand ‘corruption’ not necessarily as a dysfunctional aspect of state institutions (Gupta 1995 et al.) but rather take it to reflect a new debate of changing accountabilities and legitimacies among local Mongolians. 

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