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A Social Hub. Post-pastoral Cooperation and Competition Among the Torghuts in Ulaanbaatar City
In this paper we will draw on various forms of cooperation and self- organization that appeared among new generation of the Torghuts, sons and daughters of the herders in Bulgan district (soum) in western Mongolia, now developing their own businesses in Ulaanbaatar. We will take a closer look at how the people coming from Bulgan to the city create their new economic networks, and how they operate according to their former, pastoral idioms of cooperation. What we are particularly interested in, is the situation in which their knowledge how to act socially demonstrates itself in the activities ‘absorbing’ social actors, and fulfilling their lives in a manner, which is well known to them, but requires constant flair, effort, adeptness, risk-taking and competitiveness. We will draw on how these groups developed an informal system of collaboration in the urban environment, thus creating their post-pastoral ways of navigating collective enterprise. First of all, the analysis will be centered around a ‘social hub’ established by the Bulgans in the capital, a block of flats with apartments, bars and offices, informally known as Torguud Town, that enables people coming from the soum to stay over or settle down. In this way new trajectories of post-pastoral communities will be analyzed, along with the new social patterns triggered by increased mobility, urbanization, and withdrawal from pastoral occupations that appeared recently in Mongolia.