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FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

Paths to Protection: A Study of Plural Medical Practices among Nomadic Herder Women in Mongolia

Awarded: NOK 3.0 mill.


With the demise of the socialist state system in 1990, Mongolia embarked on a process of liberal economic reforms, initiating what is known among Mongols as 'zah zeeliin üye', 'the age of the market'. The transition from socialism to democracy and market liberalism, has been wrought by dramatic socio-economic changes for many Mongolians, but also characterized by a significant revival of elements from their 'deep past'. Within this context of change and revival, this project seeks to explore the dynamics of medical pluralism in contemporary Mongolia, focusing on nomadic herder women's multiple paths to protection of their own and their child's health. Taking a perspective sensitive to experience and socio-economic factors, the proposed project seeks to de scribe and analyze how perceptions and knowledge of curative medicine and preventive health measures intersect with mothers' rationales in their protective practices. An important concern will be to identify how herder women orient themselves within the c ontemporary medical landscape in Mongolia and to explore the various paths taken by these women in caring for their own and their child's health during pregnancy, birth and post-natal period, including the obstacles they confront. The project builds upon 21 months of previous field among nomadic herders in rural Mongolia. In the proposed project, the ethnographic material will be produced through six new months of fieldwork. The fieldwork will involve five months in the steppe-mountain area in the Arhang ai province, central Mongolia and one month in a peri-urban district in the capital Ulaanbaatar. The difference between these two field-sites will serve to highlight how different structural, economical, physical and spatial frameworks may influence mothe rs' practices, as well as, access to maternal medical care, birth, assistance and medical treatment for their child.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam