This review essay concerns the collective farms in Mongolia and Buryatia. What is considered here is not collectivisation per se, but the way it has been studied by European and American specialists in this field, between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s.
This paper explores a rumour that has been circulating lately in Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar. People report encounters with Chinese ghosts, who appear in the form of long-bearded old men dressed in silken clothes. These curious apparitions are recognised by the population as the souls of Chinese merchants, who remained attached to the place where they buried the wealth they accumulated during their life. At a time when Chinese economic expansion raises concerns among the Mongolian population, these ghosts of the colonial era sound like a warning against present-day Chinese migrants. Introducing several of these stories, this paper shows that Chinese people are imagined as essentially parasitic beings, who not only come to Mongolia to trade but stick to the place, even beyond their own death, to suck out its vital resources.
This paper is an attempt to understand dwelling in Mongolia as the cultivated balancing of three interconnected virtues, prominently exhibited by some particular characters and exemplary people, yet actually to varying degrees expected from anybody else. These virtues are skilfulness (being mergen), force (hiimor’) and power or diplomacy (erh); they are best embodied by archers, wrestlers and rulers, respectively. Drawing on three ethnographic vignettes featuring a troubled diviner, an unlucky young man and a confused anthropologist, this paper highlights how different kinds of people strive to dwell well in post-socialist Mongolia, associating elements that compose the world they live in and checking the conditions in which they might impose themselves in it.