Dealing with uncertainty: Shamans, marginal capitalism, and the remaking of history in postsocialist Mongolia

  title={Dealing with uncertainty: Shamans, marginal capitalism, and the remaking of history in postsocialist Mongolia},
  author={Manduhai Buyandelgeriyn},
  journal={American Ethnologist},
In this article, I explore the proliferation of previously suppressed shamanic practices among ethnic Buryats in Mongolia after the collapse of socialism in 1990. Contrary to the Buryats' expectation that shamanism would solve the uncertainties brought about by the market economy, it has created additional spiritual uncertainties. As skeptical Buryats repeatedly propitiate their angry origin spirits to alleviate the causes of their misfortunes, they reconstruct their history, which was… Expand

Figures from this paper

Paper Mentions

Cosmologies of freedom and Buddhist self‐transformation in the Mongolian gold rush
This article examines how Mongolian Buddhist monks view the freedom they have experienced since the fall of Soviet socialism in 1990. Whereas the anthropological literature on postsocialism tends toExpand
The Blossoming of Ignorance: Uncertainty, Power and Syncretism Amongst Mongolian Buddhists
ABSTRACT Discussions of religious ignorance have arisen contemporaneously with postsocialist frustrations and uncertainties in Ulaanbaatar. My interlocutors responded to discourses of BuddhistExpand
Post-Soviet Buddhism , its sources and emic appraisals
  • 2020
In Ulan-Ude, the multi-ethnic, multi-religious capital of Buryatia, most laypeople make use of “Buddhist counseling” (Rus. priyom u lamy), or various ritual, medical and other services thatExpand
Absent Powers: Magic and Loss in Post-socialist Mongolia
When Mongolian villagers and nomadic pastoralists left socialism behind in the early 1990s, they were filled with the certainty that something had now changed - post-socialism had become anExpand
The cultural evolution of shamanism
  • Manvir Singh
  • Sociology, Medicine
  • Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 2017
A cultural evolutionary theory is proposed to explain why shamanism consistently develops and why shamanic traditions exhibit recurrent features around the world and how shifting social conditions affect the form or existence of shamanism. Expand
Dharma and the Free Market: Reconciling Buddhist Compassion with a Market Economy in Post-socialist Mongolia
In this inductive ethnographic study, I explore the unique social and theological pressures placed on Mongolian Buddhists after the wake of free market transition in Mongolia. It utilizes theExpand
Establishing mutual misunderstanding: a Buryat shamanic ritual in Ulaanbaatar
This article discusses a strange case of shamanic ritual performed for a Buryat family in Mongolia's capital city Ulaanbaatar. This performance not only differs from those described in the regionalExpand
Erotic Capital as Societal Elevator: Pursuing Feminine Attractiveness in the Contemporary Mongolian Global(ising) Economy
Abstract Inspired by Bourdieu’s forms of capital, theorists have utilized the additional category of erotic capital as a descriptor of the increasing importance of physical appearance to economicExpand
Shamanism, Globalisation and Religion in the Contemporary Art of Said Atabekov and the Kazakh Art Collective Kyzyl Tractor
Central Asia’s most famous artist Said Atabekov both interrogates and imagines religiosity in post-Soviet Kazakhstan in his art. He has been doing so as a member of the Kyzyl Tractor (Red Tractor)Expand
Finding “Their Own”: Revitalizing Buryat Culture Through Shamanic Practices in Ulan-Ude
The shamans working at the Tengeri Shamans’ Organization in Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, claim that their work is devoted to reviving “traditional” Buryat culture, despite local criticism of theExpand


Korean Shamans and the Spirits of Capitalism
Recent studies have taught us that “religion” is not a fixed category but an instrument of popular consciousness. While the studies' subjects have often been victims of colonialism and capitalistExpand
Blame, Guilt and Avoidance: The Struggle to Control the Past in Post-Socialist Mongolia
So ran part of an interview with three young members of MAHN (the Mongolian acronym for the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party) in the party newspaper Unen (Truth) at the end of November 1997. ItExpand
Commodities and the Power of Prayer. Pentecostalist Attitudes Towards Consumption in Contemporary Ghana
This article addresses the phenomenal success of pentecostalism, a global religious movement par excellence, throughout postcolonial Africa. Investigating pentecostalist views of and attitudesExpand
The Credible and the Credulous: The Question of “Villagers' Beliefs” in Nepal
In the mid1980s, I was in Nepal looking at the formation of a "national culture" through interethnic relations in healing. I learned soon enough, though, to simply tell people there that I wasExpand
The Maoist Shaman and the Madman: Ritual Bricolage, Failed Ritual, and Failed Ritual Theory
On a cool summer afternoon, a shaman arrived at a dusty mud-brick Naxi village to cure a resident who had gone mad. During the ritual that followed, the shaman called on Chairman Mao, Zhou Enlai, andExpand
Spirits and Souls of Business
This article considers an instance of magical services in Moscow, where the practitioner adapted western neo-shamanic methods to cater to the problems of the newly rich. The techniques that areExpand
Flights Of The Sacred: Symbolism And Theory In Siberian Shamanism
Apres la repression sovietique, les chamans et les guerisseurs repondent a des aspirations spirituelles renouvelees, a la democratisation de la religion et a un nationalisme croissant chez lesExpand
Millennial Capitalism: First Thoughts on a Second Coming
he global triumph of capitalism at the millennium, its Second Coming, raises a number of conundrums for our understanding of history at the end of the century. Some of its corollaries—“plagues of theExpand
Modernity and the Memory Artist: The Work of Imagination in Highland Sumatra, 1947–1995
News from afar sometimes seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to one's own remembered past. This is not because of the banal redundancy of events, but because of memory's inclination to refurbishExpand
Moralities of the Mongolian ‘Market’: A Genealogy of Trade Relations and the Zah Zee
The Mongolian notion of a market economy as expressed in the compound term zah zeel – the present-day Mongolian equivalent for ‘the market’ – challenges the neo–liberal model of ‘the market’Expand