The Ambiguous Power of Fire and Sites of Accumulation

Rebecca M. Empson

in Harnessing Fortune

Published by British Academy

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264737
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191753992 | DOI:

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

The Ambiguous Power of Fire and Sites of Accumulation

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In Ashinga's district centre, wealth is increasingly visible in the form of people's elaborately constructed wooden houses. This chapter shows that these static displays have, over the past decade, become the target of serious arson attacks. Such attacks bring to the fore memories of past terrors where people's property was confiscated in the dead of night. But the threat of arson should not be viewed simply as an extension of a previous terror. Instead, through a focus on Mongolian ideas about fire, arson appears as a form of purification, as people question the morality of their new means of accumulating wealth and power.

Keywords: Ashinga; wealth; arson; property; purification

Chapter.  20199 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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