Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Asian History. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 01 October 2023

Pastoralism in Mongolialocked

Pastoralism in Mongolialocked

  • Sandagsuren UndargaaSandagsuren UndargaaMongolian Institute, Australian National University


Equestrian mobile pastoralism and its governance form in contemporary Mongolia date back to the 13th century Mongol Empire. The Mongol Empire succeeded a series of predecessor nomadic states in Inner Asia. The rulers of the empire adjusted the sociopolitical institutions of these preceding nomadic polities and turned the limitations imposed by the existing geographical environment to their own advantage, drawing benefits from pastoralism. They governed both pastoral and agricultural people and obtained political and economic benefits from Eurasia. After the empire collapsed, the remaining independent states encountered enormous change to their sociopolitical order, though certain aspects of the preceding political institutions for governing pastoral people and their production continued. In the early 20th century, the rulers of Outer Mongolia, while securing their geopolitical positions and independence, encountered pressure to modernize with the global trend of political and socioeconomic development via socialism and later capitalism. Looking at pastoralism in Mongolia from a historical perspective, it is important to acknowledge the dynamic relationship between pastoral governance and path-dependent historical changes to governance institutions within a narrative of the larger political history of Mongolia. Historical and contemporary states in different periods employed various statutory mechanisms to define basic sociopolitical and primary production units and their social and resource use boundaries to manage human and natural resources. Historical changes in these institutional arrangements more often maintained interdependent relationships between state rulers, local jurisdictional authorities, and their residents to pursue formal and informal control over the integrated governance of livestock, labor, and land to benefit from pastoralism. The changes at the end of the 20th century, however, resulted in dismantling the historical governance institutions in an attempt to adjust to market economy and to benefit from alternative economic development. Hence, Mongolia faces enormous public and environmental governance challenges in unpredictable socio-economic, geopolitical, andecological contexts, in which pastoralism is now combined with sedentarism.


  • Central Asia

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription