Chulalongkorn University Theses and Dissertations (Chula ETD)

Other Title (Parallel Title in Other Language of ETD)


Year (A.D.)


Document Type


First Advisor

Chantana Wungaeo


Faculty of Political Science (คณะรัฐศาสตร์)

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Degree Level

Master's Degree

Degree Discipline

International Development Studies




This study investigates and researches the impact of the Government's policy of putting the 'economy first' by analyzing the situation through the lens of Johan Galtung's concept of Structural Violence. The research answers the question: How does structural violence occur in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar under the current development challenges? In the 1990's, after the fall of communism, the IMF and the World Bank, along with some leading political figures within the Government of Mongolia, pushed forward with their plans to bring the free market to Mongolia. The World Bank and the IMF introduced the shock-therapy approach with the aim of quickly integrating Mongolia into the global supply chain. Massive layoffs were instituted within the government and nearly all of the state-owned industries were privatized. This resulted in mass inflation, job loss, and increases in poverty. The consequences of shock therapy reverberated throughout the social landscape for decades. Today, the Government continues to heed the advice of the IMF and the World Bank by focusing on the economy and gaining the trust of foreign investors and other key partners. As a result, the economy continues to be put ahead of social issues and services, with limited consultation with those most effected: the herding populous. What this means is that a pattern of injustice has been solidified within some structures so much so that the lowest-ranking actors, in this case the rural migrants now living in the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar, were deprived not only of their respective potential, but undeniably below subsistence minimum. These policies were compounded in 2017 when the Government received a bailout from the IMF. As a result, basic social services were again slashed, and taxes rose across the country to meet the demands for the loans. This paper is particularly focused on extracting data via interviews of internal migrants originally from rural communities now living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. To support these findings, an analysis of civil society, UN reports and in-depth interviews have been conducted, as well as a review of public statements by government officials. The research has found evidence of the structural violence against migrants that have settled in the capital city who were forced to abandon their livelihoods in the countryside and retreat to the ger districts of Ulaanbaatar. This paper concludes that citizens living in the ger districts are the victims of structural violence, and that this violence takes the form of higher morbidity and mortality rates as a direct result of air pollution, limited access to basic social services, and unreasonable distances to healthcare facilities. The circumstances for this inequality are the direct result of the World Bank's and the IMF's "shock therapy" strategy and is further perpetuated by poor governance and the exclusion of poor communities from meaningful civic participation.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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