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Views from the Field- Anthropological Perspectives on the Constituent Assembly Elections

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Ref: SSB-23

Views from the Field

Anthropological Perspectives on the Constituent Assembly Elections

(Baha Occasional Paper II)


David Holmberg

Judith Pettigrew

Mukta S. Tamang

with an introduction by

David N. Gellner

2009, pp iv+52

Price: US$ 8


This publication is based on a panel discussion convened by the Social Science Baha on 17 April, 2008, a week after the Constituent Assembly election. The Baha invited three anthropologists with long-term experience in various parts of Nepal, David Holmberg, Judy Pettigrew and Mukta S. Tamang, to offer their observations on the election, drawing upon their in-depth local knowledge to contextualise their experiences within the broader political, social, and cultural processes ongoing in their fieldsites. A fourth anthropologist, David N. Gellner, joined them as commentator and also to provide his own perspective from his role as an international observer on Election Day.


David N. Gellner is Professor of Social Anthropology and a Fellow of All Souls College in the University of Oxford. Among his recent edited books are Ethnic Activism and Civil Society in South Asia (2009), Local Democracy in South Asia (with K. Hachhethu, 2008), Nationalism and Ethnicity in Nepal (with J. Pfaff-Czarnecka and J. Whelpton, 2008), Nepalis Inside and Outside Nepal and Political and Social Transformations in North India and Nepal (both with H. Ishii and K. Nawa, 2007), and Resistance and the State: Nepalese Experiences (2003). He is the author of Rebuilding Buddhism: The Theravada Movement in Twentieth-Century Nepal (with Sarah LeVine; 2005), The Anthropology of Buddhism and Hinduism: Weberian Themes (2001), and Monk, Householder, and Tantric Priest: Newar Buddhism and its Hierarchy of Ritual (1992).


David Holmberg is Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University, New York. He has conducted research principally among the Tamang of Nuwakot and Rasuwa Districts since the mid-1970s, focusing on ritual and social organisation, forced labour regimes during the Rana period, and more recently, culture and power. He is the author of Order in Paradox: Myth, Ritual, and Exchange among Nepal's Tamang (1991).


Judith Pettigrew is a social anthropologist who has conducted research in central Nepal since 1990. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, and is a lecturer at the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland.


Mukta S. Tamang is an anthropologist affiliated with Department of Sociology/Anthropology, Tribhuvan University. He completed his PhD in anthropology from Cornell University in 2008 with the dissertation entitled ‘Himalayan Indigeneity: Histories, Memory, and Identity among Tamang in Nepal’. His publications include ‘Culture, Caste and Ethnicity in the Maoist Movement’, Studies in Nepali History and Society (2006); ‘Emotional Aspects of Peer Relations among Children in Rural Nepal’ (with Pamela Cole and Alice Walker) in X. Chen, D.C. French, and B.H. Schneider (eds), Peer Relationships in Cultural Context (2006); ‘The Working of Democracy in Nepal’, Seminar (2005); and ‘Cultural Diversity and Democracy in Nepal’, Himalayan Research Bulletin (2002).

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