Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Developing a culture of marginality: Nepal's current classificatory moment

Sara Shneiderman

Keywords: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION; DEVELOPMENT; ETHNICITY; INDIGENOUS PEOPLES; MARGINALITY; NEPAL; POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS; STATE RESTRUCTURING

Abstract

This article examines the complex relationships between marginalized communities, the state, and nonstate actors such as development agencies and social scientists in crafting the classificatory regimes that undergird affirmative action policies. Focusing on the current dynamics of “ethnic restructuring“ amid the broader political process of postconflict “state restructuring“ in Nepal, I suggest that international actors often unwittingly encourage the hardening of ethnic boundaries through development projects that target “marginalized“ populations defined in cultural terms. However, such interventions can also yield unexpected transformations in agentive ethnic consciousness. This ethnographic exploration of current classificatory processes in non-postcolonial Nepal provides an important counterpoint to material from the Indian context, where histories of colonial classification have debatably influenced contemporary categories-and their critique-to a significant extent.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.