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The Lama QuestionViolence, Sovereignty, and Exception in Early Socialist Mongolia$
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Christopher Kaplonski

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838560

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838560.001.0001

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There are no Counterrevolutionaries here

(p.3) Introduction
The Lama Question

Christopher Kaplonski

University of Hawai'i Press

The ‘lama question’ was the struggle between the new socialist Mongolian government and the Buddhist establishment for political, economic and social influence. The question would end after a decade and a half in the late 1930s with the execution of 18,000 lamas and the destruction of almost every monastic compound in the country. This work uses the lama question to investigate how and when states turn to the use of political violence. In doing so, it calls for a rethinking of the anthropology of the state as well the relationship between political violence and contingent states. The Introduction provides background on the role of Buddhism in Mongolia historically, as well as reflects on the methodological issues involved in the research and writing about violence more generally.

Keywords:   political violence, state of exception, Mongolia, political anthropology, Buddhism, socialism, state

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