Skip to Main Content

As part of its development efforts in the West, the Chinese government has encouraged Tibetan herders to become market-oriented, rational economic actors who strive to maximize their livestock off-take rate. In response to the increasing slaughter rate, Tibetan religious leaders have asked Tibetan herders to take oaths to not sell livestock to the market. Exploring these teachings and their implementation in one village in Sichuan, we argue that the slaughter renunciation movement is the product of the encounter between the protocols of secular capitalist development and those of Tibetan Buddhism, in which contemporary Tibetan religious authorities seek ways to reverse the social and cultural changes brought by the hegemonic state development project. However, their oppositional efforts ironically converge with those of state officials in guiding Tibetan herders to become neoliberal subjects. In navigating a rejection of the antireligious politics of Mao, the purely secular logics of Marxian critique, and the competitive pursuit of wealth through livestock sales suggested by a new capitalist order, they have created a new religious, but nevertheless still neoliberal, way of being Tibetan in China today.

Don't already have an account? Register
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal