Being a herder in contemporary Mongolia: Nomadic identity and nationhood building at school

Linda GARDELLE, Zhenzhou ZHAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

Construction of a nomadic identity in contemporary society has received increasing attention as the result of multiple challenges, including industrialisation, the formation of nation-states and a global market system. Mongolia provides an interesting case study for examination of the self-representations of nomadic peoples and their intricate relationship with national identity-building in a developing society. Based on an analysis of 28 school textbooks on social studies subjects and the narratives of herders in two regions of Mongolia (Bulgan and Bayankhongor), this study examined the interplay between the 'Mongol malchin' (Mongolian herder) identity and the construction of a Mongolian national identity in the state's dominant discourse and herders' living experiences. The study's findings revealed how a nomadic identity is interpreted in post-socialist Mongolian society to accommodate social changes and the political agenda of building nationhood. Copyright © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-385
JournalAsian Ethnicity
Volume20
Issue number3
Early online dateMar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Citation

Gardelle, L., & Zhao, Z. (2019). Being a herder in contemporary Mongolia: Nomadic identity and nationhood building at school. Asian Ethnicity, 20(3), 364-385. doi: 10.1080/14631369.2019.1586521

Keywords

  • Nomadic population
  • Mongolia
  • Textbooks
  • School curriculum
  • Nationalism

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