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Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

Managing Editor: Luisa Steur, University of Amsterdam

Deputy Managing Editor: Alina-Sandra Cucu, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Editor-at-large: Don Kalb, Central European University and Utrecht University

Editoral Collective: 
Charlotte Bruckerman, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle
Zoltán Glück, City University of New York (CUNY)
Dimitra Kofti, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle
Christopher Krupa, University of Toronto
Manissa M. Maharawal, City University of New York (CUNY)
Elisabeth Schober, University of Oslo
Steve Stiffler, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Joe Trapido, Birkbeck College, London
Theodorra Vetta, University of Barcelona
Oane Visser, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague

Volume 2016, 3 issues per volume (spring, summer, winter)

Subjects: Anthropology

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

Sara Shneiderman


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.

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