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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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Samdan, the Special Commission, and the Rule of Law

Samdan, the Special Commission, and the Rule of Law

(p.104) Chapter 5 Samdan, the Special Commission, and the Rule of Law
The Lama Question

Christopher Kaplonski

University of Hawai'i Press

The case of the lama Samdan, accused of being a counter-revolutionary in the early 1930s, helps us to understand how the different technologies of exception affected people’s lives. This chapter contrasts Samdan’s case with that of Eregdendagva, the key figure in what was known as the “Case of the 38,” an early public trial of counter-revolutionaries. These case studies provide a detailed picture of how the government’s policies were enacted and received at a local level. The contrasts and similarities between the two cases draw to our attention the full extent of the policies adopted against the Buddhist establishment through the 1920s and 1930s. A comparison with other cases of counterrevolutionary activity at the time helps further highlight the ways in which the state struggled to contain the exceptional without simultaneously appearing weak or threatened.

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

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