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Herd Agency: Rethinking Herd–Herder Relations in Mongolia and Qinghai, China


Ichinkhorloo, Byambabaatar; Bumochir, Dulam; Ahearn, Ariell (2020). Herd Agency: Rethinking Herd–Herder Relations in Mongolia and Qinghai, China. Inner Asia, 22(2):183-198.

Abstract

In this article, we draw upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Mongolia and China to develop understandings of herd–herder (mal–malchin) relations further. We focus primarily on horse-herding practices and related divisions of labour, and the three concepts of herd intuition (zön), serenity (taa) and fortune (buyan, khishig, zaya), to present additional interpretations of human–animal relations in Mongolia. Through this exploration, we develop the concept of herd agency and examine how it relates to specific horse-herding knowledge and techniques, as well as the cosmologi- cal significance of human–animal relations. All three concepts reveal the importance of cosmological agents with herd–herder relations. We conclude by emphasising the changing nature and politics of human–animal relations in these regions.

Abstract

In this article, we draw upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Mongolia and China to develop understandings of herd–herder (mal–malchin) relations further. We focus primarily on horse-herding practices and related divisions of labour, and the three concepts of herd intuition (zön), serenity (taa) and fortune (buyan, khishig, zaya), to present additional interpretations of human–animal relations in Mongolia. Through this exploration, we develop the concept of herd agency and examine how it relates to specific horse-herding knowledge and techniques, as well as the cosmologi- cal significance of human–animal relations. All three concepts reveal the importance of cosmological agents with herd–herder relations. We conclude by emphasising the changing nature and politics of human–animal relations in these regions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:790 Sports, games & entertainment
390 Customs, etiquette & folklore
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Geography, Planning and Development
Social Sciences & Humanities > Development
Social Sciences & Humanities > Anthropology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:4 November 2020
Deposited On:05 Feb 2021 14:21
Last Modified:06 Feb 2021 21:03
Publisher:Brill
ISSN:1464-8172
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1163/22105018-12340146

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