Selves in Time and Place: Identities, Experience, and History in Nepal
Debra Skinner, Alfred Pach, III, Dorothy Holland
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1998 M07 2 - 352 pages
Recently anthropology has turned to accounts of persons-in-history/history-in-persons, focusing on how individuals and groups as agents both fashion and are fashioned by social, political, and cultural discourses and practices. In this approach, power, agency, and history are made explicit as individuals and groups work to constitute themselves in relation to others and within and against sociopolitical and historical contexts. Contributors to this volume extend this emphasis, drawing upon their ethnographic research in Nepal to examine closely how selves, identities, and experience are produced in dialogical relationships through time in a multi-ethic nation-state and within a discourse of nationalism. The diversity of peoples, recent political transformations, and nation-building efforts make Nepal an especially rich locale to examine people's struggles to define and position themselves. But the authors move beyond geographical boundaries to more theoretical terrain to problematicize the ways in which people recreate or contest certain identities and positions. Various authors explore how people_positioned by gender, ethnicity, and locale_use cultural genres to produce aspects of identities and experiences; they examine how subjectivities, agencies and cultural worlds co-develop and are shaped through engagement with cultural forms; and they portray the appropriation of multiple voices for self and group formation. As such, this collection offers a richly textured and complex accounting of the mutual constitution of selves and society.
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