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Communities, Culture and Commodification

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Mongolia’s New Resource Politics

image of Inner Asia

Mongolia’s new resource politics, central to the country’s geopolitical considerations and ambitions in the twenty-first century, must be understood in relation to their complex, multi-scalar socio-cultural, historical and environmental dimensions. This paper draws on the author’s participatory research activities with key informants in Ulaanbaatar and amongst rural herding communities to illuminate key aspects, contexts and implications of the new resource politics. Specifically, the paper presents an empirically informed analysis of pertinent social and institutional forms, environmental and cultural values and aspects of resource governance, with particular reference to land issues, pastoralism, mining and resistance. Conceptually, it draws on recent work, especially in geography and political ecology, on activism, conservation and particularly on emerging discourses and framings of natural resources as ‘ecosystem services’. Through attention to these concepts, it highlights contested dimensions of environmental values and valuation, of critical contemporary importance in Mongolia’s new resource politics.

Affiliations: 1: University of


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