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Editorial Introduction

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image of Inner Asia

This issue of Inner Asia has a focus on issues of politics and identity. We are pleased to have as our leading article a ‘think piece’ by the eminent scholar Henry Schwarz, inspired by the recent celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Mongolian statehood in Ulaanbaatar and around the world. Schwarz argues that we should be aware that ‘state’ and ‘nation’ are not coterminous, and that crucial components in the latter, unlike the former, are culture and a sense of identity. In the current era when states are under attack by mass globalisation, the distinction between state and nation may become ever more evident. The great states are likely to retain most of their power and thus be able to dominate neighbouring small states economically, but the fate of the Mongol nation is much more promising. It is a far larger entity than the present state, being based on language, customs, habits and lifestyle and not defined solely in political terms. The feeling of belonging to one Mongolian nation, Schwarz argues, has repeatedly manifested itself and is likely to persist in the future.


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