China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Mobility of Pastoral Laborers from Mongolia to Inner Mongolia

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Chinar, First Floor

This presentation discusses the emergence of pastoral laborers who move from Mongolia to Inner Mongolia and work seasonally and its cultural impact to each pastoral societies. After the 1990s, it became very common for Inner Mongolian well-off pastoralists to hire pastoral laborer in order to keep mobility of livestock in some seasons, as they stopped seasonal movement and started to get in touch with the market economy. However, after the 2000s, it became more difficult for Inner Mongolian pastoralists to find laborers. The most important reason was that they became worse off generally, as a result of Chinese environmental preservation policy.

However, some pastoralists in the nearby cities found new sources of cash income in addition to traditional livestock products. Some of them started to sell fermented mare’s milk, hiring the pastoral laborers, who generally came from Mongolia after 2010 for some reasons including cultural ones.

Those laborers make fermented mare's milk differently from Inner Mongolian local hirers. It is noteworthy that these laborers usually come from areas where production of fermented mare’s milk is uncommon. In such areas, production of fermented mare’s milk started in accordance with the nationalization of fermented mare’s milk in Mongolia. Therefore, we can recognize that modern Mongolian nationalized skill is overwriting Inner Mongolian local way. Simultaneously, change in taste of fermented mare’s milk is observed in Mongolia, while the same trend is also found out in Inner Mongolian urban areas.

Thus, we can observe some aspects of mobility and its effect of denationalization through the above-mentioned case studies of the pastoral laborers of Inner Mongolia.

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