The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia

By Sabloff, Paula L. W. | The Historian, Spring 2017 | Go to article overview

The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia


Sabloff, Paula L. W., The Historian


The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia. By Christopher Kaplonski. (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2014. Pp. xvii, 259. $54.00.)

This account of the first two decades of socialism in Mongolia is an anthropological history of how the new Mongolian socialist government wrested control from the Tibetan Buddhist lamas. The author seeks patterns of behavior in historical events rather than reporting the events alone. He finds inspiration for these patterns in the political philosophers Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault, who treated segments of the population (Jews and homosexuals in Nazi Germany, Guantanamo Bay prisoners) who suffered violence at the hands of Western states as noncitizens and therefore not deserving of legal protection. Thus states are free to treat them as they wish, even killing them.

Exploring a totally different situation--the conversion of 1920s-1930s Mongolia from a Tibetan Buddhist theocracy to a Soviet-influenced socialist state--Christopher Kaplonski refines the philosophers' conception of state violence to fit more universal patterns of governmentality. While the philosophers define, Kaplonski explains how the new government tried several policies and practices before resorting (his word) to treating high-ranking lamas as noncitizens and killing tens of thousands after trying more moderate means. He calls these methods "technologies of exception."

Until the 1919 revolution and its aftermath, the monasteries scattered over the country were the foci of trade, healing, and ideology; they advised, if not directed, the secular ruling class as well. Mongolia was a theocracy in every sense of the word. Following the death of the head lama, the Bogd Khan, the socialist government had to break the lamas' power-hold over the country in order to rule. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Lama Question: Violence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.