Nord-Asie 2 | 2011
De l’ombre à la lumière, de l’individu à la nation
Based on thorough fieldwork, this book describes the revival of shamanism in Mongolia, mainly in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. The author has followed several shamans since her first visit in 1997 and gives us a very ethnologically precise account of their various attempts at ritual and cultural inventions, which Mongol intellectuals, in particular historians and folklorists, are closely involved in. Observing that “there was not one type of shamanism, but almost as many as there were shamans studied”, the author gives an outline of the different ‘shamanic centres’ set up since the end of the 1990’s. She shows what strategies the different specialists use to join or split from them. In the end, the purposes of the rituals offered by the new shamans in the capital have changed even during the period of her research. Whereas they originally focused on dealing with private problems, mainly linked to luck, they have progressively started to focus on the ‘nation’, proposing to ‘fix’ it, i.e. to reorient the Mongol identity towards the traditions supposedly inherited from Chinggis Khan and towards a cult of the Eternal Heaven.
Introduction [Full text]