71204948Dr. Murphy has been conducting research on pastoralism in Mongolia for over a decade and is currently writing an ethnographic monograph tentatively titled “Where Chinggis Spilled His Tea: A Political Ecology of Wealth and Disaster in Neoliberal Mongolia“. His research focuses on tracing transformations in rural social change and pastoral production with a particular focus on themes of environmental governance, risk and hazard management, and the intersections of labor, gender, and power in ‘place’. He has most recently embarked on several new projects exploring the impact of financial services on risk management, shifts in property, and livestock theft. Dr. Murphy continues to explore new avenues of research including an eye towards more applied ventures.


From 2007 to 2009 Dr. Murphy conducted 15 months of ethnographic research in a rural 71375147county of Khentii Province in eastern Mongolia. He lived with herding households and participated in daily pastoral life as well as conducted research across the region. The research project culminated in a dissertation focusing on the impact of various kinds of social change on mobility decisions in the context of a disaster called dzud. Dr. Murphy’s current research (described below) builds on this earlier work adding a comparative perspective.

Funding: National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Fulbright-IIE, Lambda Alpha (National Anthropology Honor Society)


Dr. Murphy’s current research project focuses on the impact of financial services including credit and insurance on “risk thinking” among herding households. The project compares herding households from eastern Mongolia in Khentii with households from Western Mongolia in Uvs aimag. Each of these regions is quite distinct with the former having substantially higher stocking rates, lower occurrence of shocks, and greater access to transportation and the latter being largely poorer, more highly exposed to shocks, and limited access to transportation. In addition to exploring how these distinctions impact risk perceptions, Dr. Murphy has also followed up on earlier research on property practices and plans to published a comparison of data from 2008 and 2014.

Funding: Taft Research Center (University of Cincinnati)


Through a collaboration with researchers leading a NSF funded multi-institutional study “Dynamics of Networks and Inequality” Dr. Murphy is planning to launch a multi-year research project exploring the social dynamics of generational change in rural Mongolia.

Funding: National Science Foundation


Murphy, Daniel (2015) “From Kin to Contract: Labor, Work, and the Production of Authority in Mongolia”. Journal of Peasant Studies 42(2): 397-424.

Murphy, Daniel (2014) “Ecology of Rule: Governance, Territorial Authority, and the Environment in Rural Mongolia,” Anthropological Quarterly 87(3): 759-792.

Murphy, Daniel (2014) “Booms and Busts: Asset Dynamics, ‘Natural’ Disaster, and the Politics of Excess in Rural Mongolia.” Economic Anthropology 1(1): 104-123.

Murphy, Daniel (2012) “Cross-boundary Resource Use and the Franchise State in Rural Mongolia”. Mongolians after Socialism (Editors, Bruce Knauft, Richard Taupier, and L. Purevjav). Admon Publishing.

Murphy, Daniel (accepted) “Mobility and the Moral Economy of Corruption in Neoliberal Mongolia”. Nomadic Peoples

Murphy, Daniel (accepted). “‘We’re living from loan to loan’: Pastoral Vulnerability and the Cashmere-Debt Cycle in Rural Mongolia”. Research in Economic Anthropology

Murphy, Daniel. (in review). “Disastrous Affects: Property and Risk in Mongolian Pastoralism”.

Murphy, Daniel (in preparation). Disaster, Risk, and Community Economies: Drivers and Implications of Pastoral Diversity in Mongolia


Murphy, Daniel (2011). Going on Otor: ‘Natural’ Disaster, Mobility, and the Political Ecology of Vulnerability in Uguumur, Mongolia. Dissertation: University of Kentucky.