Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology
The traditional environment of pastoralism is under assault from land degradation, rangeland conservation, and development paradigms that alter the everyday lives of Tsataan Dukha reindeer herders in the Mongolian taiga. This paper seeks to analyze the ways in which identity is shaped through experiences of or relationships with particular nonhuman places and beings, and how the Tsataan Dukha renegotiate their individual and collective identities with changing local landscapes that exert considerable pressures upon the social, political, and economic organization of Dukha life. Senses of place and of space are intimately tied to a sense of self, so disruption in environmental and social organization alters traditional lifestyles and cultural forms for the Dukha. I argue that changes to natural landscapes, modernization pressures, and restricted access to ancestral pasturelands alter perceptions of collective and individual identity for Tsataan Dukha reindeer herders in northern Mongolia. By exploring place attachment, place identity, and analysis of Sami and Tsataan Dukha visibility, this research seeks to ethnographically anchor the complex specifics of local and global socioeconomic and environmental frictions in the lives of those being affected by rapid transformations of natural landscapes. This research also examines how the Dukha may operate beyond the liminal constraints of their current conditions by maintaining traditional landscapes and identities while simultaneously adapting to development paradigms, modernization initiatives, and changing natural environments in the Mongolian taiga.
Vinson, Jessica, "Nature, Identity, and Pastoralism: Changing Landscapes and Shifting Paradigms in the Mongolian Taiga" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1053.