Urban Hunters


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Dealing and Dreaming in Times of Transition

Lars Hojer and Morten Axel Pedersen

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An ethnography of the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar during the nation’s transition from socialism to a market-based economic system

Urban Hunters is an ethnography of the Mongolian capital city, Ulaanbaatar, during the nation’s transition from socialism to a market-based economic system. Following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, Mongolia entered a period of economic chaos characterized by wild inflation, disappearing banks, and closing farms, factories, and schools. During this time of widespread poverty, a generation of young adults came of age. In exploring the social, cultural, and existential ramifications of a transition that has become permanent and acquired a logic of its own, Lars Højer and Morten Axel Pedersen present a new theorization of social agency in postsocialist as well as postcolonial contexts.

Lars Højer is associate professor and deputy head at the Department for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, and the director of the Centre for Comparative Culture Studies. Morten Axel Pedersen is professor of social anthropology at the University of Copenhagen and a vice-director of the Copenhagen Centre for Social Data Science.

"We have been waiting decades for a book that would show us how important the post-socialist transition is for our understanding of cultural transformation more generally. This is that book. Ethnographically compelling and a great read, this book is first and foremost a major contribution to social theory—one that will change the way we think about social action, time, and change itself going forward."—Joel Robbins, University of Cambridge

"Revealing and thought-provoking in equal measure, this remarkable book opens a window into the lives of Mongolians overtaken by the collapse of state socialism and thrust into an era of ‘transition.'"—David Sneath, author of The Headless State: Aristocratic Orders, Kinship Society, and Misrepresentations of Nomadic Inner Asia 

"These richly drawn portraits from Mongolia of twenty years back may tell us much about economic and social free fall in a particular time and place, but the real strength of this book is how easily its sharp insights map onto an increasingly global predicament of the urban dispossessed."—Bruce Grant, New York University

ISBN: 9780300196115
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
288 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
28 b/w illus.
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