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Enumerative Stalling and the Precarious Production of Value in Mongolia

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Drawing on long-term fieldwork in a rural district of central Mongolia, I explore how a variety of enumerative practices establish creative moments of ‘temporal stalling’ from which a sense of value can emerge. Focusing on the production of pastoral value reveals that it is also intimately related to the production of an authoritative sense of male personhood. Exploring this dual process, I draw out how a sense of value – how people “assess the importance of what they do” (Graeber 2001)– is, in the final analysis, highly precarious and ultimately irreducible to encompassment through processes of enumeration.

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