China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
In Mongolia, the temporality of elections mirrors the temporalities of resource cycles at all levels of the economy, thus making legible the complex interplay between politics and extractive economics. This panel explores the multiple temporalities and diverse guises of the overlap between democratic elections and economic practices in relation to and in response to neoliberalism. Elections govern the country in an ad hoc and liquid way, have high participation rates, and are just as impactful as legally binding institutions like the elected Parliament. Seemingly interminable, electoral campaigns, have transformed from an event out-of-time to a structuring force that impacts the rhythms of economic and everyday life. Elections have become, especially, the legal and political enabler for mining as a resource and as an ideology for national development. And on the grassroots level, individuals appropriate elections to create new resource-based economic forms—e.g. as collateral for new resource entrepreneurialism or as promise for new resource access. Hence, both electoral and resource cycles are firmly embedded in reconfigured forms of patronage and new social classes and groups that are formed through the distribution of gigs and gifts, debts and loans. This panel inquiries into the kinds of economies produced in Mongolia’s dynamic democratic landscape, with the aim of highlighting the mutual imbrication of resource extraction and political campaigns in the search for new wealth in post-socialist Mongolia.