Accepted Paper:

Local development interventions and power networks among herders in Mongolia  


Byambabaatar Ichinkhorloo (National University of Mongolia)
Emily Yeh (University of Colorado Boulder)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on how development projects have been implemented at local level through ethnographic in-depth studies in two different geographical locations and how this development intervention creates competitive power networks among herders through network studies.

Paper long abstract:

Number of Development agencies is targeting herders as vulnerable to natural and social risks such as winter snowstorms, droughts and pasture mismanagement, and try to help herders overcome these risks and perceived pasture degradation or mismanagement. The achievement of development projects at local level brought more power to local people who involved in the projects and created suspicion among the rest of people. For instance, detailed investigation of "development" small grants to herders and analyses of the impacts of Development projects on herders reveal hidden [to outsiders] reciprocal networks of herders and how these networks are competitive with each other and how they make their own boundaries. The competition of these networks is usually originated from local key officials, local politics and well-recognized herder families. These further influence herders to rely more on their own strength or networks and lead to disintegration of herder neighborhoods. For this reason I argue that Development intervention supports forming individualistic society overall and weakens herders' neighborhood trust while encouraging spatially dispersed reciprocal networks for short-term economic gains.

Panel P061
Mobile pastoralists and international development: standpoints and engagements