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Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit



Tuesday 17 November

4.30–6.00 ZOOM

Elizabeth Fox

University College London, Visiting Researcher, University of Cambridge

Flesh and Blood: Rotting and Relating in the Age of the Market

Normative understandings of Mongolian kinship are based on metaphors of bone, blood and flesh, while substantive approaches focus on materials that maintain relatedness across distances necessitated by nomadic pastoralism. The flesh of livestock, however, has been overlooked in considerations of Mongolian relation-making, both among people and between people and their homelands (nutag). In Ulaanbaatar, urban-rural migrants live at a distance from animals and must rely on countryside connections for nutag meat, rendering meat an exemplary material through which to trace relations across rural-urban divides. The meat- centered approach proposed here draws on the materiality of meat to reveal the emergence of a distinctive form of meat-based relationality in the "age of the market". Furthermore, it reformulates the division between normative and processual conceptions of 'kinship', inspired by the ways that people themselves oscillate between these modes of reckoning relatedness and activating relational obligations through flesh and blood, respectively animal and human. 

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Tuesday, 17 November, 2020 - 16:30 to 18:00
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