Economic Exposures in Asia

An interdisciplinary series showcasing ethnographically-driven analyses of changing economic landscapes in Asia.

Economic change in this region often exceeds received models and expectations, leading to unexpected outcomes and experiences of rapid growth and sudden decline. This series seeks to capture this diversity. It places an emphasis on how people engage with volatility and flux as an omnipresent characteristic of life, and not necessarily as a passing phase. Shedding light on economic and political futures in the making, it also draws attention to the diverse ethical projects and strategies that flourish in such spaces of change. We publish monographs and edited volumes that engage from a theoretical perspective with this new era of economic flux, exploring how current transformations come to shape and are being shaped by people in particular ways.

Books in the series will be made freely available online, alongside an affordable paperback print copy.


Editorial Board



If you are interested in submitting a proposal to this series please contact:

Chris Penfold

UCL Press Commissioning Editor Email Chris

Rebecca Empson

Series Editor Email Rebecca

Forthcoming Monographs in the Series

Rebekah Plueckhahn

Shaping Urban Futures in Ulaanbaatar (working title)

By Rebekah Plueckhahn
Ulaanbaatar construction ©Rebekah Plueckhahn, 2017

This ethnography explores the encounters and entanglements that have arisen over property in Ulaanbaatar during times of economic decline. Positioned from the perspective of people trying to access housing and land, it discusses how their decisions and strategies influence and shape understandings of ‘the market’, urban environments, and types of economic imaginaries. Examining the fluctuating interrelationships between the social and the material, it asks what kinds of urban actors and environments are emerging in Mongolia’s state of economic flux?

Lauren Bonilla

In Search of the Boom in Resource-Rich Mongolia: Development, Debt and Disorder

By Lauren Bonilla
Mongolian Mine ©Lauren Bonilla, 2017

Mining occupies a central position in the rhythms of economic life of early 21st century Mongolia. The country's vast reserves of untapped resource wealth once promised to fuel national growth and prosperity, especially on the back of a rising and resource-hungry China. Yet the development boom that was wildly anticipated has not quite materialized as expected. Instead, new economic realities have emerged - like public concern about an economic crisis and swelling foreign debts - that are changing the way Mongolians are thinking about wealth and fortune for themselves, their families, and their nation.

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By Rebecca Empson

Life in the Gap: Subjective Lives and Economic Transformations in Mongolia

By Rebecca Empson
Mongolian truck drivers ©Rebecca Empson, 2017

With rapid economic growth followed by sudden decline, Mongolia, like elsewhere, is facing increasing public and private debt, conflicts around sovereignty and land, multiple forms of political protest, and a turn toward a more conservative politics that protects its own but ignores the masses. For many, this moment allows for wider reflection on the pace of change and its future direction. Life in the Gap seizes this moment of reflection. Focusing on five different women it explores how they carve out a life for themselves and their families in this shifting landscape, reflecting on past hopes and aspirations, and the realities that they have created.

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Dr Bumochir Dulam

Environmentalism and Nationalism in Mongolia's Mining Economy

By Bumochir Dulam
Protest ©B Rentsendorj, 2017

Mongolia’s rapid expansion of the extractive industry has generated environmental problems across the country and triggered fierce conflicts between local residents and mining companies and the state. Activists have resisted mining companies and the state by bringing cavalry guards to mine sites, firing at mining company equipment, shooting arrows at the State House, and threatening the State with guns, hand grenades and explosives etc. Environmentalist and nationalist movements have pressured the government to prioritise the environment over the extractive industry. Some mining companies have stopped their operations and many investors have fled Mongolia as a consequence of pressures crated various difficulties in the mining sector.

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Rebekah Plueckhahn

Networks, Labour and Migration among Indian Muslim Artisans

By Thomas Chambers
Indian Muslim Artisans ©Thomas Chambers, 2019

This monograph provides a detailed account of everyday life, work and migration amongst Muslim woodworkers from the North Indian city of Saharanpur. It offers material resulting from almost a decade of research in the region as well as from the author’s own experiences of learning woodworking trades and of living, labouring and migrating – in India and the Gulf – with woodworkers from the city. This intimate account is layered against a background that draws in connections of historicity, global capitalism, migrant mobilities, religious networks and localised forms of supply chain embeddedness enabled through intersections of gender, class and religious identity. As such, the ethnography ranges across scales; from the closeness of family life and everyday friendships, to the global connections of supply chain capitalism and labour migration within both domestic and international destinations.

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