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Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit


Dr Elizabeth Fox is an anthropologist and researcher of Mongolia. Focussed mainly on Ulaanbaatar, her research has covered a variety of urban livelihoods including young elite women, shamanic gown seamstresses, cashmere factory workers, and ger district residents. Her doctoral thesis 'Between Iron and Coal: Kinship, Bureaucracy and Infrastructure in the Ger Districts of Ulaanbaatar' (UCL, 2019) was based on long term fieldwork on the outskirts of Mongolia's capital and constitutes one of the first book-length anthropological studies of the city's ger districts. The thesis challenges the idea that the ger district lacks infrastructure and instead details the kinship, material and bureaucratic infrastructures that bring the ger district into being, weaving together ethnographies of daily life for ger district dwellers and the bureaucrats of the Mongolian welfare system. It traces the role of meat as a new material in the enactment of Mongolian kinship across city-countryside divides, the linguistic performance of hierarchical kin relations in ger district families, the complex histories of rural-urban migration that produce ger districts, and the techniques of governance and their ambivalent negotiation by ger district welfare bureaucrats, using a methodology that combines social, material and linguistic analyses. Her work pushes the boundaries of anthropological theory and form, experimenting with new ways of writing, especially about the state. Her postdoctoral research advances the questions raised in her thesis about the role of meat in contemporary Mongolia interrogating its potential as a material index of social, political and economic change. She has been published in Inner Asia (2015), the Cambridge Journal of Anthropology (2019) and has an article forthcoming in the Journal of Social Policy (ZSR). 



Not available for consultancy