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Sociology in Nepal: underdevelopment amidst growth.

Rise of Sociology

The rise of social sciences in the post-16th century Western Europe Western Europe

The countries of western Europe, especially those that are allied with the United States and Canada in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (established 1949 and usually known as NATO).
 has widely been attributed to the enormous political, economic and cultural contradictions-and struggles--generated by the twin crises of feudalism feudalism (fy`dəlĭzəm), form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies.  and "faith", the working out of reformation and renaissance, the rise of capitalism and, later, of the structure of democracy. (1) This large-scale and drawn out dislocation dislocation, displacement of a body part, usually a bone. When a bone is dislocated, the ends of opposing bones are usually forced out of connection with one another. In the process, bruising of tissues and tearing of ligaments may occur.  and crisis could find resolution only with a radical reorganization of life and society. This reorganization involved the creation, among others, of an expanded European and global market for wage labor, commodities and reinvestment Reinvestment

Using dividends, interest and capital gains earned in an investment or mutual fund to purchase additional shares or units, rather than receiving the distributions in cash.

1. In terms of stocks, it is the reinvestment of dividends to purchase additional shares.
 of profits; the class and state systems; relatively centralized cen·tral·ize  
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.

 production regimes which usurped the role of the household as a center of production; spatially and socially disattached and "free", often migrant and urbanized, labor; a culture of "faithless" reason, doubt, empiricism empiricism (ĕmpĭr`ĭsĭzəm) [Gr.,=experience], philosophical doctrine that all knowledge is derived from experience. For most empiricists, experience includes inner experience—reflection upon the mind and its , "scientific temperament" and of human and socially generated, rather than supernaturally delivered and preordained pre·or·dain  
tr.v. pre·or·dained, pre·or·dain·ing, pre·or·dains
To appoint, decree, or ordain in advance; foreordain.

, progress; and norms of citizenship. it also involved the democratic and liberating influences of the American and French revolutions, the industrial revolution, the Soviet and other socialist revolutions as well as the much more drawn out processes of decolonization decolonization

Process by which colonies become independent of the colonizing country. Decolonization was gradual and peaceful for some British colonies largely settled by expatriates but violent for others, where native rebellions were energized by nationalism.
, state formation and democratization de·moc·ra·tize  
tr.v. de·moc·ra·tized, de·moc·ra·tiz·ing, de·moc·ra·tiz·es
To make democratic.

 as well as nationalism, modernity and developmentalism within the newly independent regions and countries.

The comprehension and explanation, control and reshaping, and prediction of this large-scale political, economic and cultural struggles and transformation, which generated wide ranging and intense departure from the established order at multiple levels-ranging from individual and group identity to the nature and relationships among individuals, households, states, classes and the multifarious multifarious adj., adv. reference to a lawsuit in which either party or various causes of action (claims based on different legal theories) are improperly joined together in the same suit. This is more commonly called "misjoinder." (See: misjoinder)  constituents of the global system were the planks on which the social sciences were founded. Intellectual frameworks aligned with feudalism and faith were rendered incommensurate in·com·men·su·rate  
a. Not commensurate; disproportionate: a reward incommensurate with their efforts.

b. Inadequate.

2. Incommensurable.
 for the comprehension, explanation, prediction of and intervention into the processes of struggle and transformation as also of the transformed social world. Further, the transformation, by its very nature, signified an end to the stability of the old world and generated successively new rounds of systemic as well as anti-systemic struggles and transitions within and at local, intermediate and global levels and in the structure of relationship among them. The altered and ever-changing social world, in turn, necessarily demanded a mode of social enquiry that was based upon the assumptions that the social world was historically (rather than divinely) constructed, that it was eminently knowable (rather than mysterious and humanly hu·man·ly  
1. In a human way.

2. Within the scope of human means, capabilities, or powers: not humanly possible.

 unfathomable) and that it could, within the limits and facilities set by historical processes-as well as conscious and organized human social action, be consciously reshaped and reorganized re·or·gan·ize  
v. re·or·gan·ized, re·or·gan·iz·ing, re·or·gan·iz·es
To organize again or anew.

To undergo or effect changes in organization.
. The altered and ever-changing social world would also demand an empirical-as opposed to "authoritatively received", mode of social inquiry. Not only was the larger structural and state level political authority consistently challenged but the social world, which was diverse, unstable, complex and changing and, by most accounts becoming ever more so, demanded that even the "social scientific authority"-including those which emanate em·a·nate  
intr. & tr.v. em·a·nat·ed, em·a·nat·ing, em·a·nates
To come or send forth, as from a source: light that emanated from a lamp; a stove that emanated a steady heat.
 from specific metatheories, established research practices and organizational structures This article has no lead section.

To comply with Wikipedia's lead section guidelines, one should be written.
, e.g. the university system, undergo "reality check" on a continuing basis and revalidate re·val·i·date  
tr.v. re·val·i·dat·ed, re·val·i·dat·ing, re·val·i·dates
To declare valid again.

 itself in the process. The new social world both obliged o·blige  
v. o·bliged, o·blig·ing, o·blig·es
1. To constrain by physical, legal, social, or moral means.

 and encouraged newer social visions, theories, sets of information, interpretations, critiques, modes of social control and platforms for action. The social sciences in Europe and, later, the USA, were founded within the context of this large-scale transformation.

Specialized fields within the social sciences largely evolved during the 19th century in response to the expansion and intensification of the transformation itself, the popular struggles that this transformation entailed, the multifarious impacts on religious affairs, polity, administration (including colonial administration), law, economy, culture, etc. it generated, and the emergent structures the transformation created, e.g. state, market, urbanity, impoverishment, crime. The demands of the state structures for information, analysis and policy making--and implementation thereof--in order to selectively contain, expedite and streamline the process of transformation and its impacts and' to ameliorate a·mel·io·rate  
tr. & intr.v. a·me·lio·rat·ed, a·me·lio·rat·ing, a·me·lio·rates
To make or become better; improve. See Synonyms at improve.

[Alteration of meliorate.
 some of the politically and socially damaging effects of the transformation, as well as the struggles of urban workers and their unions, activities of social reformers and charities, as well as the social science academia played significant proximate proximate /prox·i·mate/ (prok´si-mit) immediate or nearest.

Closely related in space, time, or order; very near; proximal.


immediate; nearest.
 roles in the evolution of the specialization in the social sciences. The social science academia was slowly gaining legitimacy as an interpreter of specific aspects of the new and evolving social world and as a potential "fixer fixer,
n the chemicals used in the final step of film processing that remove the unaffected silver halide particles from the developed film.

" of the multifarious "social problems" generated by the transformation. The success gained by the increasingly specialized natural sciences contributed both to the legitimacy of the social sciences in general as also to the "promise" held out by specialization within the "science of society". The part played by social "sciences", in particular, political science, public administration, economics, law, and anthropology, during the colonial era further justified their utility.

It was also within this space that sociology was gradually erected in Europe over the 19th century. The nature of the new, un-feudal, "faithless", familially and spatially "unhinged", migrant, urban, industrial, capitalist, class-based and conflict-ridden society, with pockets of extreme poverty, exploitation and seeming hopelessness was not only relatively unfettered from a host of traditional anchors of order and control, but it also raised the specter of rootlessness and normlessness. Uncertainties loomed large. Further, the rapidity of the transformation-and the successive waves of transition in social lives-and the relative of unpredictability of the future course, of transformation were being widely and intensely discussed and acted upon.

It was this transformative cauldron which created the space for sociological thinking. Sketching and elaborating file features of the new society, as contrasted with the older forms, expectedly, was the first item in the agenda of such thinking. Comte's "law of three stages" and Durkheim's explorations on the bases of religion, education, and anomie anomie, a social condition characterized by instability, the breakdown of social norms, institutional disorganization, and a divorce between socially valid goals and available means for achieving them. , individualism ("egotism Egotism
See also Arrogance, Conceit, Individualism.

Baxter, Ted

TV anchorman who sees himself as most important news topic. [TV: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in Terrace, II, 70]

") and social integration in the new society were symptomatic of such thinking. Durkheim's explorations also constituted a significant quest for Verb 1. quest for - go in search of or hunt for; "pursue a hobby"
quest after, go after, pursue

look for, search, seek - try to locate or discover, or try to establish the existence of; "The police are searching for clues"; "They are searching for the
 the bases of order and stability in the new society. Similarly, Weber's vast corpus sought to map this transformation in economic, political, administrative, social and psychological terms within a deeply historical and cross-societal comparative matrix. Marx's even vaster corpus, in turn, laid bare the history and functioning of the new mega- structure of capitalism-the mother of all transformations, the contradictions that it produced and sharpened, the impact it generated on everyday social and personal lives, and made the case for political action to challenge it. All four sociologists, in addition, elaborated new epistemologies necessary in order to investigate the new society: empiricism; non-reductionism and "sociologization"; historical analysis, interpretation and "disenchanted dis·en·chant  
tr.v. dis·en·chant·ed, dis·en·chant·ing, dis·en·chants
To free from illusion or false belief; undeceive.

[Obsolete French desenchanter, from Old French,
 objectivity;" and historical-dialectical materialism. For Comte, Durkheim and, to a certain extent, Weber, the new investigative perspectives would also legitimize le·git·i·mize  
tr.v. le·git·i·mized, le·git·i·miz·ing, le·git·i·miz·es
To legitimate.

 Sociology as an independent discipline in its own right. The institutional and financial bases of sociology, within the university system and with a certain level of public support, were rather painstakingly built upon during this period. It must be said, however, that the activities of many grassroots social reform associations lent legitimacy to sociology and to the strengthening of its institutional and financial base.

Following the relatively sterile interwar interwar

of or happening in the period between World War I and World War II
 years, during which rural and urban sociology Urban sociology is the sociological study of social life and human interaction in metropolitan areas.

Like most areas of sociology, urban sociologists use statisticial analysis, observation, social theory, interviews, and other methods to study a range of topics, including
, symbolic interactionism Symbolic interactionism is a major sociological perspective that is influential in many areas of the discipline. It is particularly important in microsociology and sociological social psychology. , the "theory of action", and a couple of other broadly ahistorical a·his·tor·i·cal  
Unconcerned with or unrelated to history, historical development, or tradition: "All of this is totally ahistorical.
 perspectives (with the exception of critical theory which emerged in Germany during the 1920s) made their beginnings, the functionalist func·tion·al·ism  
1. The doctrine that the function of an object should determine its design and materials.

2. A doctrine stressing purpose, practicality, and utility.

 perspective gained a near-hegemonic metatheoretical status in sociology and anthropology, particularly in the US. The rise and high dominance of this conservative perspective, which lasted till the mid-60s, has legitimately been attributed to the historically unprecedented economic growth and prosperity in the US during the aftermath of World War II, the masking of latent conflicts that such rise in prosperity afforded, the actual absence of major and overt conflict, and to the ascendance as·cen·dance also as·cen·dence  

Noun 1. ascendance - the state that exists when one person or group has power over another; "her apparent dominance of her husband was really her attempt to make him pay
 of the US to the preeminent position in the global hierarchy.

Two of the key features of the post-World War II scene, particularly with respect to the colonized Colonized
This occurs when a microorganism is found on or in a person without causing a disease.

Mentioned in: Isolation
 and other "third world" countries, were decolonization and "modernization"-led development. Decolonization and "modernization" were at once liberating and "imperializing" (excepting, to a certain extent, in the Socialist countries This is a list of countries, past and present, that declared themselves socialist either in their names or their constitutions. No other criteria are used; thus, some or all of these countries may not fit any specific definition of socialism. ): The "natives" were liberated from particular colonial countries while at the same time that world-scale capitalist imperialism was strongly revitalizing re·vi·tal·ize  
tr.v. re·vi·tal·ized, re·vi·tal·iz·ing, re·vi·tal·iz·es
To impart new life or vigor to: plans to revitalize inner-city neighborhoods; tried to revitalize a flagging economy.
 itself to incorporate the globe following a five-decade long hiatus characterized by two world wars, the rise of the Soviet system, and one great depression. The image that the "modernization" framework cast was one of unilinear u·ni·lin·e·ar  
Of or developing in a progressive sequence usually from the primitive to the advanced.
 growth and development within which " the more modern and developed polities, economies, cultures and peoples, including those within the modernized and developed states, in effect, constituted the future of the less modern and less developed. The states and peoples which were "traditional", non-modern and less developed had only to traverse an already charted path, including in relation to the generation and utilization of knowledge (including sociology) at the "local" level-given that the "universal" was already sketched at the global level. It was merely a matter of filling in. This perspective was mirrored at the national level as well. Global, state, and market-as well as most "non-governmental"--structures and institutions had just begun to engage in the search for "system-compatible" and "usable" information and interpretation. The search for such information and interpretation, which was large in scale, formed the bulk of social science work. The job market for sociologists was decidedly influenced "by the search for such "usable" information and interpretation put at the service Of modernization and development. These processes, which, among others, transformed the non-Western settings and peoples into the "other" and which coalesced co·a·lesce  
intr.v. co·a·lesced, co·a·lesc·ing, co·a·lesc·es
1. To grow together; fuse.

2. To come together so as to form one whole; unite:
 within "orientalism" were, in turn, laid bare and severely criticized, during the '70s, among others, by Edward Said Edward Wadie Saïd, Arabic: إدوارد وديع سعيد, , Talal Asad Talal Asad is an anthropologist at the City University of New York who has made important theoretical contributions to Post-Colonialism, Christianity, Islam, and Ritual Studies and has recently called for, and initiated, an anthropology of Secularism.  and others.

Within the Western countries themselves, the rise of the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, and women's and student movements student movements, designation given to the ideas and activities of student groups involved in social protest. Historically, student movements have been in existence almost as long as universities themselves. As early as the 4th cent.  during the late '60s and the early 70s there, however, led to a serious questioning of the functionalist position, as also of the empiricist em·pir·i·cism  
1. The view that experience, especially of the senses, is the only source of knowledge.

a. Employment of empirical methods, as in science.

b. An empirical conclusion.

 and ahistorical stance. These movements and protests have also had the effect of substantially expanding the sub-fields of sociology as well as the job market for sociologists within the governments, semi-governmental institutions, the private sector, international institutions and the universities.

The post-70 sociological thinking, in turn, has remained "pluralist plu·ral·ist  
1. An adherent of social or philosophical pluralism.

2. Ecclesiastical A person who holds two or more offices, especially two or more benefices, at the same time.

Noun 1.
": Even as the functionalist, empiricist and ahistorical stances remain widespread and "legitimate", last two decades have encouraged introspection introspection /in·tro·spec·tion/ (in?trah-spek´shun) contemplation or observation of one's own thoughts and feelings; self-analysis.introspec´tive

 (e.g. Gouldner 1971, Clifford and Marcus 1986, among others), textual analyses, powerful interpretations of the interconnection between power and knowledge, and the intercounectedness of macro and the micro structures and processes. The world-systems perspective has been a singular contribution of the post-'70s sociology, as is the feminist perspective. In addition, the post-'70 period has seen the elaboration of a host of other frameworks which seek to include the experience and struggle of a variety of "excluded" groups, e.g. the "races", ethnic groups, the caste groups, migrants, senior citizens, disabled. History, holism holism

In the philosophy of the social sciences, the view that denies that all large-scale social events and conditions are ultimately explicable in terms of the individuals who participated in, enjoyed, or suffered them.
, conflict and contradiction are in. Expansion of sub-fields and the job market, in the meanwhile, has continued, despite at a lower pace, not the least due to the rightist right·ism also Right·ism  
1. The ideology of the political right.

2. Belief in or support of the tenets of the political right.

, neo-liberal and state minimalist min·i·mal·ist  
1. One who advocates a moderate or conservative approach, action, or policy, as in a political or governmental organization.

2. A practitioner of minimalism.

 position advocated and practiced since the '80s. Within the "developing" countries, the embracing of developmentalism and its corollaries-international financial assistance and policy "guidelines", international non-governmental organizations “NGO” redirects here. For other uses, see NGO (disambiguation).

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a legally constituted organization created by private persons or organizations with no participation or representation of any government.
, etc.--have further opened the job market for sociologists and social anthropologists Noun 1. social anthropologist - an anthropologist who studies such cultural phenomena as kinship systems
cultural anthropologist

anthropologist - a social scientist who specializes in anthropology
. Ethnic, regional, and other voices and struggles for "inclusion" and wider demands for democratization and expansion of public services Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing private provision of services.  have also opened up the professional space for sociologists and social anthropologists. The obverse has been the case as well: Some sociologists and social anthropologists, at least some of the time, have disagreed to honor the agenda and themes put forth by modernization, developmentalism and globalization globalization

Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation
, critiqued them, and found and worked with other frames and themes.

Finally, during the '80s and the '90s, serious questions have been raised on the legitimacy of the existing disciplinary contours and boundaries in the social sciences as well as on the legitimacy of the accepted theory and practice of social sciences-including sociology and social anthropology. Calls have been made for tearing down the old but strong walls between social sciences on account of the fact that they inhibit insightful inquiry of the new social conditions. Calls have also been made for modes of social inquiry which are historically and politically self-conscious and which are at the same time plural, local as well as universal (Said 1978, Clifford and Marcus 1986, Wallerstein et. al. 1997, Wallerstein 1999, also see Amin 1997: 135-52, Sardar Sardar, in some senses also Sirdar (Persian: سردار ) (Sardār  2002). The widespread call for indigenization In anthropological terms, to "indigenize" means to transform things to fit the local culture. Most changes in original culture occur when western corporations impose their products on other economies, Westernizing.  of sociology and anthropology raised primarily--although not exclusively--by non-Western academics, including those in Nepal (see below), are also, at least in part, based on the "lack-of-fit" between political, economic and cultural conditions within the global metropoles on the one hand and the peripheral regions on the other: The academic, word of the metropole Met´ro`pole

n. 1. A metropolis.
 is seen to misrepresent mis·rep·re·sent  
tr.v. mis·rep·re·sent·ed, mis·rep·re·sent·ing, mis·rep·re·sents
1. To give an incorrect or misleading representation of.

 the social world of the outlying regions, societies and peoples.

Embedding 1. (mathematics) embedding - One instance of some mathematical object contained with in another instance, e.g. a group which is a subgroup.
2. (theory) embedding - (domain theory) A complete partial order F in [X -> Y] is an embedding if

This rather long-winded introduction has been intended as a platform to enter into a discussion of the state of sociology in Nepal. It has argued, among others, that

* The emergence as well as the specific nature of evolution of sociology (as well as other social sciences) is predicated on the scale and intensity of social struggle and social transformation. As argued in the preceding section, the large scale and intense social struggle and transformation in Europe, particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries, led to a zeitgeist which insisted on the historical and worldly-rather than mythical and ecclesiastical-nature of the social domain. This revolutionary zeitgeist systemically and gradually transformed all social practices, e.g. forms of government, forms of economic transaction, structure of the household, identity of an individual, as well as all branches of social expression e.g. art and literature, physical and biological sciences and to the emergence and transformation of "sciences of society", including sociology and anthropology. Even as the Nepali society is making significant transition away from faith-directed and feudal traditions and towards a more democratic political culture at various levels and sectors, and even as the sciences of society are seeking to learn from the Western academic tradition, the peripheral, dependent and unsustained nature of the capitalist transition, the restricted nature of the urban and public domains, the miniscule min·is·cule  
Variant of minuscule.

Adj. 1. miniscule - very small; "a minuscule kitchen"; "a minuscule amount of rain fell"
, underdeveloped un·der·de·vel·oped
Not adequately or normally developed; immature.
 and non-polyvocal bourgeoisie, together with largely state-dependent organization of higher education higher education

Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art.
, relatively non-demanding and relatively unprofessionalized academic systems, as well as functionalist and developmental emphases that the carriers of sciences of society have taken on. The hegemonic impact of the Western academia, on the other hand, has also led to an inordinate emphasis on receiving rather than generating knowledge.

* The emergence and the specific nature of evolution of sociology is also predicated on the nature of the transition, i.e. what and which political and economic structures and regions, ideologies, institutions, classes, groups are driving the transition, how the dominant structures are negotiating the transition with other, less dominant structures and the relative strength of the other less powerful, but nonetheless competing, structures. The more powerful generally usurp u·surp  
v. u·surped, u·surp·ing, u·surps
1. To seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force and without legal authority. See Synonyms at appropriate.

 the right to characterize and "speak for" the less powerful. This essentially is the crux Crux (krks) [Lat.,=cross], small but brilliant southern constellation whose four most prominent members form a Latin cross, the famous Southern Cross.  of the practice of "orientalism" (see Sardar 2002 for summary as well as critique). Speaking for others, however, is not a monopoly of the orientalist tradition, a point which is powerfully brought out in Clifford and Marcus (1986). Such "filtering frameworks" also operate at the national level in the "developing" countries and bear significant implications for the development of social sciences (Guru 2002). The interconnectedness between power and knowledge implies that the powerful, unless systematically resisted and exposed, cannot but seek to Usurp the authority of representing, often misrepresenting, "the other". This strain is strong in Nepal and comes in the disguises of "salvage anthropology (and sociology)", romanticism romanticism, term loosely applied to literary and artistic movements of the late 18th and 19th cent. Characteristics of Romanticism

Resulting in part from the libertarian and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution, the romantic movements had
 and a strong reformist, developmentalist, and modernist sociology and social anthropology. There has, with the last decade, been some improvement on this front, however. Encompassing political debates and transitions (during after the 1990 political transition and the ongoing "Maoist" struggle) as well as.ethnic, regional and, to a certain extent, "gender", perspectives and voices have been ascendant during the last decade. While not all of these have yet been translated into the sociological and social--anthropological proper, these cannot but leave marks within the discipline within the next decade--even as the urban, the upper class and upper caste, statist stat·ism  
The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy.

statist adj.
, modernist and developmentalist interests may continue to dominate the sociological enterprise. The ethnic and regional voices are already being translated into sociological and social-anthropological agenda. Further democratization of the polity in Nepal, which is inevitable in many ways, is likely to expand push these academic initiatives further.

* The emergence and the specific nature of evolution of sociology and social anthropology in the West on theone hand and the rest of the world on the other are of an embedded Inserted into. See embedded system.  nature. This embeddedness was principally founded upon the structure and processes of the colonial and capitalist transition that the non-Western polities, economies and cultures underwent beginning the 17th century (see Frank 1998 for the interface between Asia and the rest of the world). In addition, between the 1880s and the 1950s, many of these countries also underwent further capitalist and imperialist as well as anti-colonial, nationalist and democratic transitions and struggles. Social sciences--together with other forms of knowledge and expression--in these structures and countries developed both as constitutive constitutive /con·sti·tu·tive/ (kon-stich´u-tiv) produced constantly or in fixed amounts, regardless of environmental conditions or demand.  components or critiques of these specific struggles and transitions. Social sciences there also developed as components or critiques of the post-World War II global and local structures and ideologies and practices related to developmentalism and modernization, capitalism and imperialism, formation of new state structures, nationalism and statism stat·ism  
The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy.

statist adj.
, as well as democratization, the enlargement of the public domain, expansion of public administration and the empowerment of the newly created citizens. The affirmation and remapping of the identities, political roles and life chances of the diverse class, caste, ethnic, religious, regional, linguistic, gender and other groups mandated by encompassing political, economic and cultural trdnsitions also shaped and reshaped the social sciences and sociology and anthropology. The stamps of these structures and processes can be found in sociology and social anthropology in Nepal as well. Academic organizations at the higher level are largely state financed, although there is a growing private presence there. (Most private higher education structures, however, gain from indirect state support as well as more direct "subsidy" from state-financed academic organizations--principally in the form of teachers who agree to work on part-time wages in private colleges partly because they continue to receive full-time wages from state-financed colleges.) Developmentalism is a strong theme within the syllabi syl·la·bi  
A plural of syllabus.
 and it largely drives the research agenda. The state is almost universally seen as playing the most significant role in relation to development and modernization. Nationalism remains a key and overarching o·ver·arch·ing  
1. Forming an arch overhead or above: overarching branches.

2. Extending over or throughout: "I am not sure whether the missing ingredient . . .
 reference point in syllabi, research outputs and discourses on development, modernization and even class, caste, ethnicity, gender and regionalism re·gion·al·ism  
a. Political division of an area into partially autonomous regions.

b. Advocacy of such a political system.

2. Loyalty to the interests of a particular region.

. The syllabi do emphasize critiques of these dominant preoccupations but only a small number of academics view these transitions critically enough.

Embedding has become much more intense during the post-World War II phase of globalization. The expansion and intensification of the global political, economic and cultural interface has had a pronounced implication for the shaping and reshaping of sociology and social anthropology in the non-Western countries and, lately, within Western countries as well. The evolution of sociology and social anthropology in the non-Western world, in this specific sense, is an heir to sociology and social anthropology in the West and, thus, to a substantial extent, inherits both the promise and the pitfalls held out by the discipline. In a rather curious but highly significant twist, this embeddedness, among others, is also beginning to reshape the discipline in the West (e.g. Clifford and Marcus 1986). This embedding encompasses multiple dimensions, among which the economic interface and its political--and military (e.g. the "war on terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act ")--implications have been widely discussed. This embedding, more to the point here, however, also shapes what is defined as knowledge, the identification of valid modes of generating knowledge as well as the production and distribution of knowledge. The West remains highly privileged on all these accounts. As such, it is privileged in developing the frameworks of social science inquiry and defining the agenda of the social sciences (cf. Wallerstein et al. 1997: 33-69, Wallerstein 1999:168-184 in particular) as well as in the production and distribution of texts and references (including specialized disciplinary journals). This privilege allows the Western academic establishments a much higher level of access to global information and literature, organizational competitiveness, resources and professionalization pro·fes·sion·al·ize  
tr.v. pro·fes·sion·al·ized, pro·fes·sion·al·iz·ing, pro·fes·sion·al·iz·es
To make professional.

. The search for the nomothetic nom·o·thet·ic   or nom·o·thet·ic·al
1. Of or relating to lawmaking; legislative.

2. Based on a system of law.

3. Of or relating to the philosophy of law.

, the general, the grand theories and the metatheories, and universal "laws", privilege the West. These, in turn, generously contribute to the powerful edge that Western sociology and social anthropology has over the practice of the discipline in other areas of the world. The larger economic and political privilege necessarily "rubs off" on Western academia in as much as the West not only has already "been there" but also "gauged and weighed alternatives and possibilities" and the rest is at the stage of "catching up". Within the context of the embeddedness of the larger political and economic system and the hierarchy therein, the production of homologous homologous /ho·mol·o·gous/ (ho-mol´ah-gus)
1. corresponding in structure, position, origin, etc.

2. allogeneic.

 and unequal intellectual and academic hierarchies are rendered inevitable. Nonetheless, and despite the growing debate on globalization at the global and national levels, the evolution of specific structures and processes which shape the polity, economy and culture in Nepal are often visualized by sociologists and social anthropologists as uniquely local products. The macro and the long run remain highly underemphasized both in the syllabi and the research agenda. The sociology of the interconnectedness of the global, the national and the local, the dynamics of this interconnection, and the implications this interconnection has on the present and future lives of different social categories such as regions, classes, genders, ethnic groups, caste groups, the poor, etc., on macroeconomic mac·ro·ec·o·nom·ics  
n. (used with a sing. verb)
The study of the overall aspects and workings of a national economy, such as income, output, and the interrelationship among diverse economic sectors.
 and other public policies and their implementation, and on processes such as democratization and centralization cen·tral·ize  
v. cen·tral·ized, cen·tral·iz·ing, cen·tral·iz·es
1. To draw into or toward a center; consolidate.

, have remained largely neglected with sociology and social anthropology in Nepal. Similarly, the developmentalist and functionalist vision, which remains dominant, has de-emphasized the teaching and research on frameworks and themes such as politics, conflict, struggle, resistance, etc., despite, among others, the ongoing "Maoist" rebellion.

* The "delinking" of the global on the one hand and the national and the local on the other, also becomes clear from a perusal of the "state of sociology" writings in Nepal. Most such writings fail to see the multiple levels of embeddedness involved in the evolution of sociology and social anthropology in Nepal: embeddedness of the polity and economy in the West and the evolution of the discipline in the West, global and national embeddedness at the level of encompassing political-economic frameworks, and the embeddedness of political-economy of Nepal and the evolution of sociology and social anthropology in Nepal. This is an area that needs urgent redressal.

Sociology in Nepal: Institution and Growth

We can now discuss the overarching as well as much more proximate institutional bases of the emergence and growth of social accounts, social sciences and "pre-sociology" in Nepal. It must be emphasized right away, however, that the roots of such endeavors have to be sought not only in other "disciplines" such as literature and in economic, political and social history but also in accounts of emerging social reform associations, agrarian conditions, labor migration, structures of resistance, popular struggles, etc. Both "literature" and social accounts, however, remain extremely sparse right till the 20th century. It has to be recalled that the literacy rate in 1950 was approximately 5 percent, the first college was established in 1917 and the 1946-1951 Rana regime was politically highly controlled and autocratic. The tradition of oral and/or reconstructive history and sociology has been weak as well (see Burghart 1984, Oppitz 1974, Blaikie, Cameron and Seddon, 1980, Mikesell 1988, Ortner 1989, Shrestha 1971, among others, however). This certainly remains an area where significant contributions can be made within sociology and social anthropology. Nepali sociologists and anthropologists, who have remained almost exclusively preoccupied within the "agenda of future" i.e. modernization and development", have been particularly unproductive in reconstructing the past as also in analyzing a historically informed present. Such reconstructions have to give "word" to the emerging world of transitions characterizing Nepal during the 1850-1950 period. We should be reminded also that those who dared to put to word the contradictions and transitions during the period were severely discouraged, incarcerated incarcerated /in·car·cer·at·ed/ (in-kahr´ser-at?ed) imprisoned; constricted; subjected to incarceration.

Confined or trapped, as a hernia.
, exiled or put to death altogether.

Nonetheless, there is significant scope for sociological reconstruction based on historical accounts. Mahesh Chandra Regmi's documentation-based historical accounts, particularly those related to the agrarian features of the 19th century Tarai, the conditions of life of the peasants and tenants there and their relationship with the state and its intermediaries as well as the social implications of contract farming (Regmi 1978, 1984), has proved an extremely fertile site for a variety, of social science disciplines. There is no doubt either that Regmi's corpus will continue to fuel much sociological reconstruction in future. The pain and suffering of the early 19th century Hill peasants, under conditions of Nepal-East India Company war, has been well sketched in Father Ludwig Stiller (1973, 1976) as well. Similarly the accounts provided by other "historians" such as Prayag Raj raj also Raj  
Dominion or rule, especially the British rule over India (1757-1947).

[Hindi r
 Sharma, Kamal Prakash Malla, Harka Gurung, the Itihas Samsodhan Mandal and others have created a productive platform for sociological reconstructions. More recently, Bhattarai's (2003) Marxist account of Nepal's political economy has provided a rich source for further reconstruction of socio-spatial relationships in Nepal. The old "colonial" accounts by William Kirkpatrick William Kirkpatrick may refer to:
  • William Kirkpatrick (New York politician) (1769–1832), a United States Representative from New York.
  • William Sebring Kirkpatrick (1844–1932), a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.
 (1811), Francis Hamilton (1819) and Brian Hodgson For the ornithologist see Brian Houghton Hodgson.

For the British socialist politician see Brian Hodgson (politician).

Brian Hodgson is a British television composer and sound technician.
 (1880) also constitute good source materials Noun 1. source materials - publications from which information is obtained
source - a document (or organization) from which information is obtained; "the reporter had two sources for the story"
 for a historical analysis.

If struggles and transitions make and re-shape social experiences--and therefore social accounts (including "pre-sociological" accounts), modern social accounts would have to begin from the period of the rise of the world colonial-capitalist bastion of the East India Company and the implications it had on the reorganization of states, markets and peoples in the north Indian legion, including Nepal. The shaping and reshaping of Nepal and the peoples who inhabited there was carried out within this specific global and regional context. The accounts of Mahesh Regmi and Ludwig Stiller (including The Rise of House of Gorkhas) constitute a "local", "insider" and Nepali perspective on these events and processes, but it is obvious that the shaping and reshaping of Nepal and the peoples there was far more than a "domestic" event. Regardless, this shaping and reshaping resulted, among others, in the "silent cry" among the peasants of the Hills (Stiller 1976), as also in the creation of semi-capitalist agrarian conditions in the Tarai (Mishra 1987). It is likely that the encompassing civil code of 1854 (Hofer 1979) constituted an attempt to come to terms with, and regulate and reshape, the political, economic, ideological and normative transitions during the first half of the 19th century within a broadly autocratic, statist, Hindu, modernizing, rationalizing .(in the Weberian sense), East India Company (and British Empire British Empire, overseas territories linked to Great Britain in a variety of constitutional relationships, established over a period of three centuries. The establishment of the empire resulted primarily from commercial and political motives and emigration movements )-friendly, and dependent-capitalism promoting set up.

Some of the economic, agrarian, social and international implications of this set up have been described in considerable detail by Regmi (among others, in Regmi 1978, 1984; also see Mishra 1987). There were other implications as well, particularly in the political and, apparently, in the class, caste, ethnic and gender, arena. Several cases of resistance against the state have been recorded, e.g. revolt led by Sripati Gurung in Lamjung and Gorkha and the apparently larger revolt led by Lakhan Thapa both of which took place in the 1870s, the longer-running movement of Yogmaya which ended in a mass suicide Mass suicide occurs when a number of people kill themselves together and/or for the same reason. Examples
Mass suicide sometimes occurs in religious or cultic settings.
 in 1942, and the furor furor /fu·ror/ (fu´ror) fury; rage.

furor epilep´ticus  an attack of intense anger occurring in epilepsy.
 caused by a book on social and economic reforms by Subba Krishna Lal Adhikari (see Karki and Seddon 2003: 3-5). In addition, relatively oblique satires, more forthright forth·right  
1. Direct and without evasion; straightforward: a forthright appraisal; forthright criticism.

2. Archaic Proceeding straight ahead.

 criticisms as well as agendas for political reform and change were making their way into the public domain. More importantly perhaps, there were transitions of a more directly "political" nature. The short-lived Prachanda Gorkha rebellion and the more genuinely political Praja Parishad movement constituted a social account and a political agenda which underlined the contradictions between the "old and defunct" autocratic regime which had not gained popular legitimacy and a new, yet-to-become, "democratic" state of Nepal. Then, of course, there were the Nepali Congress The Nepali Congress is a Nepalese political party. It is led by Girija Prasad Koirala.

The Nepali Congress is a reform-oriented centrist party, has been in continuous operation since it was founded under a slightly different name in 1947.
 Party and the Nepal Communist Party Communist party, in China
Communist party, in China, ruling party of the world's most populous nation since 1949 and most important Communist party in the world since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.
, together with a number of others, whose accounts and agendas had touched the lives and imaginations of a sizable number of independent peasants, skilled workers, urban dwellers, merchants and, not the least, a section of the disgruntled dis·grun·tle  
tr.v. dis·grun·tled, dis·grun·tling, dis·grun·tles
To make discontented.

[dis- + gruntle, to grumble (from Middle English gruntelen; see
 but politically potent aristocracy. In addition, the global and, in particular, the Indian anti-colonial struggle, the struggle of various emerging political parties and their political actions as well as the emerging discourses on the new, post-World War II, world order and modernization and development gradually delegitimized the authority of existing state, economic structures and values and norms and generated new and alternative imaginations, visions and practices. The implications of some of the social, cultural, political, ethnic and value-related transitions and the "local" implications of global processes between 1921 and 1951--including the material and normative changes brought about by the demobilized Gurkhas forces--both at the "grassroots" and national levels are sketched in an engaging manner by Pande (1982).

The details of the emergence and practice of sociology as such immediately following the 1951 transition has been well sketched (see Thapa 1973 in particular). The interconnection between the emergence and practice of sociology on the one hand and the larger emerging, developmenalist, modernist, international financial and policy assistance driven, statist and liberal democratic national and international agenda, however, appears to have been given a short shrift short shrift
1. Summary, careless treatment; scant attention: These annoying memos will get short shrift from the boss.

2. Quick work.

 in the search for details. What is clear enough is that in keeping with these agendas, and in keeping with the emerging concepts and categories in sociology-particularly those in the US, this early period of the practice of sociology in Nepal, like in many other parts of the "developing" world, found itself implicated im·pli·cate  
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.

 and applied in a newly instituted "Village Development Program". The program aimed at training development extension agents in the areas of rural family and society and in community development. The training package changed and expanded considerably with the advent of the monarchy-led and undemocratic Panchavat political system and the expansion of the state apparatus. The Panchayat Noun 1. panchayat - a village council in India or southern Pakistan
panchayet, punchayet

council - a body serving in an administrative capacity; "student council"
 Training Centre was charged with training the political cadre as well as the senior staff of the bureaucracy and conducted courses on rural society, group dynamics group dynamics: see group psychotherapy. , communication, local leadership and social survey and planning, and sought to justify the notion that the Panchayat political system was inherently development-friendly (cf. Thapa 1973). In addition, a number of trained sociologists and anthropologists were enrolled by the state in developing the ideological framework of the political system and elaborating a national scale educational program. Anthropologists (apparently including at least-one reputed international anthropologist) were also enrolled to conceptualize con·cep·tu·al·ize  
v. con·cep·tu·al·ized, con·cep·tu·al·iz·ing, con·cep·tu·al·iz·es
To form a concept or concepts of, and especially to interpret in a conceptual way:
 and administer a "remote" area development program within which the clergy (Buddhist in this case) would play a significant role. It was no mere coincidence that the program was framed and instituted along the northern reaches of the country (which lay contiguous to the Tibetan-Chinese border), at a time when the Cultural Revolution was on the ascendant in the People's Republic People's Republic
A political organization founded and controlled by a national Communist party.
 of China. Similarly, the resettlement Re`set´tle`ment   

n. 1. Act of settling again, or state of being settled again; as, the resettlement of lees s>.
The resettlement of my discomposed soul.
- Norris.
 program, under which landless land·less  
Owning or having no land.

landless·ness n.

Adj. 1.
 and marginal landowners in the Hills, as well as ex-military personnel, were resettled Adj. 1. resettled - settled in a new location

settled - established in a desired position or place; not moving about; "nomads...absorbed among the settled people"; "settled areas"; "I don't feel entirely settled here"; "the advent of settled
 in selected locations along the southern Tarai plains, also availed the services of several anthropologists. These "strategic alliances" during this period between the state on the one hand and sociologists and anthropologists on the other, however, must not be "over-read". The state was the largest employer of trained specialists and there were only a few trained Nepali sociologists and anthropologists. Nonetheless, it does appear that the early interface between the state on the one hand and sociologists and anthropologists on the other was mutually satisfying.

The nature of this early interface, the state's "imperative" to introduce "Nepal" to the wider, principally Western and aid-giving, world, the rapidly increasing demand for sociologists made by international funding agencies in Nepal--some of whose senior staff had been trained in the discipline itself, the globally expanding developmentalism and the demand for sociologists therein--primarily for ascertaining the "specificities" of the local. "rural" and "project site" structures and processes, crystallized crys·tal·lize also crys·tal·ize  
v. crys·tal·lized also crys·tal·ized, crys·tal·liz·ing also crys·tal·iz·ing, crys·tal·liz·es also crys·tal·iz·es
 together into an agenda for instituting a formal, academic and degree-graining program in the discipline. Ernest Gellner's 1970 report on the desirability and feasibility of a Department of Sociology Noun 1. department of sociology - the academic department responsible for teaching and research in sociology
sociology department

academic department - a division of a school that is responsible for a given subject
 in Tribhuvan University Tribhuvan University is the largest and the oldest university of Nepal. It is situated in Kirtipur. The university was established in 1959 as the first university of the country. , which emphasized that "social research should be closely tied both to social development and to the exploration of the national culture", and Alexander Macdonald's enrolment as the first professor of sociology (for both events see Macdonald 1973) as well as Dor Bahadur Ba`ha´dur

n. 1. A title of respect or honor given to European officers in East Indian state papers, and colloquially, and among the natives, to distinguished officials and other important personages.
 Bista's appointment as the first professor of anthropology were responses to these agenda. While this venture had its share of problems (Dahal 1984: 39-40), it did serve to augment the legitimacy of the discipline in the eyes of the state, several international development agencies as well as the Tribhuvan University.

These processes and initiatives culminated in the formation of a Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tribhuvan University in 1981. The department initiated a Master's level program and, in collaboration with the Sociology Subject Committee at the university, took steps to initiate Bachelor level programs in several campuses and colleges within/affiliated with the university. The initial course offerings, thematic emphases and the mode of expansion of the discipline have been described and critiqued by a number of participants (among others, Dahal 1984, Bhattachan 1987, 1996, Bhandari 1990, Gurung 1990, Gurung 1996, Bista 1987, 1996, 1997, Bhattachan and Fisher 1994; also refer to Table 1). The next section elaborates these descriptions and critiques.

Organizationally, the academic program on sociology and anthropology has expanded rapidly within the Tribhuvan University and is making slow headway in other universities. Currently, the Masters' program is conducted in seven campuses, i.e. in Kirtipur, Patan, Trichandra, Biratnagar, Pokhara and Baglung. (In the last two, this is the first year the program has started.) In addition, the Purbanchal University Purbanchal University (PU) was established in 1995 in Nepal with aims to develop higher education in the country in a decentralized manner and to expand the opportunities of higher education.  also conducts one Master's level program in the discipline. It should be emphasized that in part because most students enter the Masters' level only with 10 years of high school and four years of college,' the academic level of the majority of the students, is internationally comparable to the Bachelors' level. Some of the students, on the other hand, compare well with graduate students at Western universities. The duration of schooling at the school level, however, is gradually shifting and the 12-year norm may be universalized in the next 5-10 years.

The Bachelors' level in the discipline is conducted in 17 campuses within the Tribhuvan University. In addition, the Purbanchal University conducts two Bachelors' level program. Further, courses on sociology and anthropology is also offered within various other disciplines, e.g. development studies, rural development, forestry, agriculture and animal sciences, medicine, environment, computer sciences. It is also offered in some higher secondary schools as an elective subject.

The discipline attracts a large number of students: In terms of popularity among Master's level students, it is likely that only Economics rates higher. Part of the reason for this popularity is the fact that, unlike several other disciplines, entry to sociology and anthropology remains partially open to students from other disciplines, including physical sciences and technology. The major root of the attraction, however, lies in the rather widely shared notion that graduates in the discipline enjoy an easier access to jobs in the development and "project" industry, e.g. international development and donor agencies, INGOs, NGOs, and some development agencies within the government.

On the average, and in recent years, the Years, The

the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]

See : Time
 number of annual entrants to the Masters' level at all the participating campuses has exceeded 1,200. The rate of attrition Noun 1. rate of attrition - the rate of shrinkage in size or number
attrition rate

rate - a magnitude or frequency relative to a time unit; "they traveled at a rate of 55 miles per hour"; "the rate of change was faster than expected"
, however is extremely high such that the number who enroll in the second year at the Master's level drops to about one-half the number. The proportion that graduates within a period of two years--the official duration of the course--remains very small, and possibly does not exceed 10 percent to 20 percent of those who sit in for the final examination. All in all, a rough estimate indicates that only about 1,500 students may have completed their Masters degree during last 20 years.

There is a high level of variation in the quality of teaching at the Masters' (and presumably pre·sum·a·ble  
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster.
 Bachelors') level in the different campuses. In particular, the majority of the senior teachers are located in a single campus, i.e. the Kirtipur Campus. The Dean's Office, the University's academic committee on sociology and anthropology and the Central Department of Sociology--the three principal agencies charged with promoting the discipline at the Tribhuvan University--have accomplished precious little to bridge the wide gap in the quality of teaching across campuses in the University. Illustratively, during last five years, the Dean's Office has organized only one experience-sharing event among teachers scattered across various graduate and graduate departments. The academic committee, in turn, has not met during last four years. In addition, the committee, though charged for overseeing the overall academic performance within the discipline, has historically interpreted its mandate extremely narrowly and focused only on the preparation of the courses of study. The central department, qualified as such because of the academically supervisory role it is expected to carry out in relation to other sister departments of sociology and anthropology within the university, has not pursued this mandate in a sustained manner.

The design of the syllabi at the Master's level remains uneven. Some of the courses are of a good--internationally competitive--quality while a few others leave much to be desired. While the syllabi must remain sensitive to the job prospects of graduates, there are indications that job prospects are weighing much more heavily on the syllabi and the basics of the discipline are beginning to receive a short shrift. Bureaucratic bu·reau·crat  
1. An official of a bureaucracy.

2. An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.

 bottlenecks--the centralized examination system in particular, as well as lack of initiative and unprofessional resistance among teachers often block attempts at regular revision of the syllabi.

Access to literature, in relation both to students and teachers, remains extremely restricted. This, in part, is attributable to the facts that very few good texts have been prepared locally and international publications are generally highly expensive. Most of the departments do not have a library of their own. Even the central library of the Tribhuvan University, which is located in Kathmandu, is perennially starved of funds and a large proportion of the meager mea·ger also mea·gre  
1. Deficient in quantity, fullness, or extent; scanty.

2. Deficient in richness, fertility, or vigor; feeble: the meager soil of an eroded plain.

 collection of journals is availed through often irregular and short-term donations. Principally because of financial reasons, it cannot procure new high quality books either. However, a couple of departments have initiated a system of generating funds from the student body and utilizing the funds to procure texts and reference materials. The low level of Competence of the majority of the students, as well as many teachers, in the English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations.  also inhibits their access high quality international publications in English.

The incentive structure of teachers at the universities, while broadly compatible with those of other public officials, generally fails to attract new high quality teachers, particularly those with Ph.D.s and those who have graduated from reputed universities outside Nepal. Given the incentive structure, many such graduates prefer to work for national and international non-governmental agencies and international development agencies rather than at the university. The criteria for the promotion of teachers through the academic hierarchy, while much more systematized within the last decade, nonetheless continue to prize seniority rather than research outputs and the quality of teaching. The centralized hiring and promotion mechanisms at the Tribhuvan University have often foregrounded non-academic criteria and opted for semi-closed rather than open evaluations and contests. Such mechanisms, in addition, have encouraged the inclusion of non-professionals in organs charged with hiring and promotion.

The most significant and long run problem which plagues teaching and learning at Tribhuvan University--and one which it shares with many other universities in the underdeveloped as well as some developed countries--is the pervading climate of uncritical and unreflexive "intellectual" work. The severe lack of critical and reflexive (theory) reflexive - A relation R is reflexive if, for all x, x R x.

Equivalence relations, pre-orders, partial orders and total orders are all reflexive.
 "habits" has serious and long run negative consequences, among others, on the development of social sciences and sociology and anthropology. The texts, generally, are both taught and learned not as platforms for playful and creative thinking, as windows which facilitate a view of the wider world and as instruments which allow intimate dialogue with the self and society but as something which constitutes the last word on the subject and as one which must be passively received. Many students--and some teachers--read but not engage with books. To a certain extent, this is understandable as well. The fact that many of texts and references they are required to read often do not address key attributes or problems of the society they are living in does feed disengagement disengagement /dis·en·gage·ment/ (dis?en-gaj´ment) emergence of the fetus from the vaginal canal.

. In addition, many of the teachers fail to link--whether by way of illustration, comparison or critique--the book with the world students inhabit. Such books, in such a context, often acquire a fictive fic·tive  
1. Of, relating to, or able to engage in imaginative invention.

2. Of, relating to, or being fiction; fictional.

3. Not genuine; sham.
 character. The apparently universal text, because it does not encompass the local--or gives it a short shrift--fails to acquire local authenticity and, as a result, does not excite the imagination of the students. An unperceptive and uncritical mentor who fails to read the implicit meaning of the apparently universal text for local life and society, in turn, does not make the task of engagement any easier.

Review of State of Sociology

For a discipline which has a relatively short history, the number of "state of sociology and social anthropology) in Nepal" reviews has been rather astounding a·stound  
tr.v. a·stound·ed, a·stound·ing, a·stounds
To astonish and bewilder. See Synonyms at surprise.

[From Middle English astoned, past participle of astonen,
. These writings, expectedly, vary widely with respect to quality of insight offered on these questions. While some of these writings are responses to periodic review events organized by the Tribhuvan University, many such writings do represent deep personal concerns with what sociology is doing and not doing, where it is headed and what it can and should do. These reviews also touch upon some of the key debates surrounding social sciences in general and sociology and anthropology in particular (in Nepal). I shall utilize this section both to summarize the reviews as also to explore some of the key epistemological e·pis·te·mol·o·gy  
The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.

[Greek epist
 and substantive debates in the sociology and anthropology of Nepal.

A couple of caveats are in order to put this review of reviews in context. First, because these reviews have been prepared at different periods of the evolution of sociology in Nepal, the arguments raised have to be read with reference to the period of publication of the assessment. Some of the assessments prioritize teaching, some focus on research and many others cover both the domains. Some, in addition, implicate im·pli·cate  
tr.v. im·pli·cat·ed, im·pli·cat·ing, im·pli·cates
1. To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly: evidence that implicates others in the plot.

 the university, the government, and so forth. While many of the reviewers are Nepali nationals, some are international academics. Further, while at least one-half of the reviewers were at a relatively an early stage of their academic career at the time they prepared the review, the rest were in their mid-career or had had a long and rather distinguished career behind them. Finally, some of the reviewers have assessed the discipline more than once and at different stages of their career. This paper, however, "collapses" such reviews and does not attempt to investigate possible changes in such assessment.

A number of running themes emerge in these reviews of the state of sociology in Nepal. The theme of romanticism (which is often defined as a preoccupation with the past and the present) versus midwifery midwifery (mĭd`wī'fərē), art of assisting at childbirth. The term midwife for centuries referred to a woman who was an overseer during the process of delivery. In ancient Greece and Rome, these women had some formal training.  (often defined as a preoccupation with the future) is clearly implicated in these reviews. It has been alleged, mostly although not exclusively, by Nepali academics, that romanticism is strongly implicated in the very choice of Nepal--and some specific regions and locations within it, selection of themes as well as modes of thinking and writing of mostly--although not exclusively--by international academics. It has been argued by many that this romanticism detracts from the contribution that the discipline could make to the "dispassionate dis·pas·sion·ate  
Devoid of or unaffected by passion, emotion, or bias. See Synonyms at fair1.

" understanding, as also to public policy formulation and implementation and "development". The scent of applied science and immediately socially useful work is strong here, as is the sense of actively and directly intervening, doing and participating. Contemplation, analysis, and remaining-at-a-distance from the "center of activity", i.e. activities which are elaborated through the power of the state, international agencies, international non-governmental organizations and, generically, by "development", is relatively devalued de·val·ue   also de·val·u·ate
v. de·val·ued also de·valu·at·ed, de·val·u·ing also de·val·u·at·ing, de·val·ues also de·val·u·ates
1. To lessen or cancel the value of.
 here. (It must be said, on the other hand, that voluntary engagement by Nepali academics also remains high within the domain of the rather politically unglamorous and financially non-paying civil society initiatives.) This contrast between the Nepali and international academics, however, must not be overdrawn o·ver·draw  
v. o·ver·drew , o·ver·drawn , o·ver·draw·ing, o·ver·draws
1. To draw against (a bank account) in excess of credit.

. Many from both the categories have drawn attention to the significance of the large scale and long run perspective and which is theoretically and historically informed. Fisher (1987), in addition has reminded us that "reverse romanticism", arising out of the faith bestowed on the state, the international financial institutions, and on the agenda of modernization, can become counterproductive coun·ter·pro·duc·tive  
Tending to hinder rather than serve one's purpose: "Violation of the court order would be counterproductive" Philip H. Lee.
 as well.

As Fisher notes, it is difficult to define romanticism (within the context of sociological inquiry); the allegation of romanticism as applied to particular inquiry is often vacuous. Romanticism is certainly not a matter of the physical or cultural location of the "field", of the subject matter or theme of inquiry, or of a particular technique of generating data and information. It may perhaps be defined as a feature of an entire mode of inquiry which contributes to mystification mys·ti·fi·ca·tion  
1. The act or an instance of mystifying.

2. The fact or condition of being mystified.

3. Something intended to mystify.

Noun 1.
 rather than to clarification. Romanticism and mystification is inherent in modes of inquiry which are non-problematizing, ahistorical, non-comparative. Such attributes are also inherent in modes of inquiry which do not explore the encompassing context within which the concrete is located and which do not seek to resolve the interface between the whole and the part as well as the reconfiguration of the interface. (Within the academia, the invocation invocation,
n a prayer requesting and inviting the presence of God.
 of "disciplinary boundaries" often serves to hide the connectedness and wholeness of social life, particularly in relation to the larger political and economic conditions and processes.) Romanticism and mystification is also inherent in modes of inquiry which do not allow full expression to the "local" and which hasten to slot the "local" into a predetermined pre·de·ter·mine  
v. pre·de·ter·mined, pre·de·ter·min·ing, pre·de·ter·mines
1. To determine, decide, or establish in advance:
 substantive and theoretical-conceptual frame.

The nationalist agenda is very strong in the writings of many of the Nepali academics. While this is evident from the preceding paragraph, the wide and frequent invocation of the nationalist--and sometimes ethnic, regional, etc. "we", as also of the notion of "Nepal School of Anthropology", is a telling expression of this sentiment. The call for indigeneity within the discipline and the emphasis on the investigation of processes of national identity and integration also bear this out. On the other hand, John Cameron's (1994) warnings against the ill consequences of changing international academic fads on the image of Nepal and the practice of development there does underpin the problematic nature of the external and "universalistic" gaze. (This criticism would, of course, apply to many other countries beside Nepal.)

The 1950-1980 period was one of nationalist renaissance in Nepal (also see Onta 1996). In particular, this was the period when Nepal was partially unshackled, in a number of domains--not the least within the domain of education and school curricula, from India. Beginning the early '70s, the new uniform school curriculum was introduced in the much-expanded "national" school system. This was also a period in which the non-South Asian and non-Chinese world started to intrude intrude,
v to move a tooth apically.
 and impact directly on the lives of the majority of Nepalis. (This does not, however, imply that Nepal was "closed" prior to this period, unlike what many historians and politicians have asserted and as conventional wisdom incessantly repeats; cf. Mishra 1987.) The present generation of sociologists was nurtured during this period. The nationalist agenda within sociology and anthropology, however, should not be equated with the search for indigeneity within the discipline. This search, in part, goes beyond the notion of nationalism and constitutes a resistance against the universalistic claims of (primarily Western) social science and sociology and anthropology. It also constitutes a call for providing due and full respect to the "local", for not privileging the Western experiences and frames of thought and for an authentic interfacing between the particular and the general. It is an assertion that the "local" academics are coming of age and can begin to negotiate, in company with many other academics in the non-Western world, the reshaping of the discipline. It is a voice of protest against the political and economic hierarchization within the world system. Similar voices have been heard for nearly five decades from academics in the underdeveloped countries. More recent voices along this line have been summarized in Moore (1996; in particular see the introductory, essay by Moore and by Norman Long on globalization and localization Customizing software and documentation for a particular country. It includes the translation of menus and messages into the native spoken language as well as changes in the user interface to accommodate different alphabets and culture. See internationalization and l10n. ).

In consonance con·so·nance  
1. Agreement; harmony; accord.

a. Close correspondence of sounds.

b. The repetition of consonants or of a consonant pattern, especially at the ends of words, as in blank
 with the emphasis on nationalism, modernism and developmentalism, and the resistance against romanticism, ethnography ethnography: see anthropology; ethnology.

Descriptive study of a particular human society. Contemporary ethnography is based almost entirely on fieldwork.
 as the dominant mode of doing sociology and social antitropology is strongly questioned both by Nepali and international sociologists. This mode of practice has been strongly questioned on the grounds of authenticity (cf. Furer-Haimendorf vs. Ortner in Ortner (1973), Manzardo's (1992) mea culpa me·a cul·pa  
An acknowledgment of a personal error or fault.

[Latin me culp
 on "impression management" among the Thakalis, Kawakita Jiro's (1974) retraction In the law of Defamation, a formal recanting of the libelous or slanderous material.

Retraction is not a defense to defamation, but under certain circumstances, it is admissible in Mitigation of Damages. Cross-references

Libel and Slander.
 of his initial characterization of Marphali women). It has also been questioned on the grounds of adequacy of explanation, e.g. Ortner's (1989) criticism of spatially and temporally shackled ethnography and Dahal's (1983) criticism of Lionel Caplan in relation to Hindu dominance over ethnic groups (Caplan 1970). It need not be overemphasized that the dominant mode of doing ethnography was, and to a certain extent remains, "shackled". One reason for such shackling shackling

see shackle.
 was methodological: Participant observation participant observation,
n a method of qualitative research in which the researcher understands the contex-tual meanings of an event or events through participating and observing as a subject in the research.
, in practice, generally did not allow for historical and/or an explicitly cross-cultural vision. If historical vision remained consistently de-emphasized in ethnography, cross-cultural perspective was generally defined as falling within the domain of the Ph.D. supervisors and other high-ranking "theorists" rather than "field" and Ph.D.-seeking anthropologists. Such perspectives were often regarded as negating the definition of a culturally and/or physically defined "field", regardless of the fact the negation NEGATION. Denial. Two negations are construed to mean one affirmation. Dig. 50, 16, 137.  mortally violated holism, the time-honored principle of anthropological investigation. The dominant mode of doing ethnography not only encouraged discrete studies, but also legitimized the invalid notion that societies and cultures investigated were unconnected with wider expanses of time, space, cultures and polities and economies. For this artificial "whole" to stand on its own, it had to, be set apart, often invidiously in·vid·i·ous  
1. Tending to rouse ill will, animosity, or resentment: invidious accusations.

, from encompassing as well as neighboring neigh·bor  
1. One who lives near or next to another.

2. A person, place, or thing adjacent to or located near another.

3. A fellow human.

4. Used as a form of familiar address.

 structures as well as internal processual features largely by means of "professional" fiat--rather than by means of historical criteria. Thus the charge that ethnographers have been encouraging divisiveness, a charge which has been made not only by the state, the nationalists and the culturally dominant but also by trained sociologists and anthropologists. Thus also the emphasis in the preceding reviews that "integrative" structures, conditions and processes ought to become key themes of anthropological inquiry.

On the other hand, the nationalist and culturally dominant strain, as noted, remains strong among Nepali sociologists and anthropologists. One implication of this character is obvious from the preceding review. Few of the Nepali academics have acknowledged that resistance, conflict, struggle and emancipation--all somewhat "divisive" themes--ought to become a key site of sociological inquiry. Indeed, the emphasis on the developmentalist, nationalist, statist, and modernist agenda has been quite strong. The preceding review, in consequence, generally fails to acknowledge that even social criticism has a legitimate place within the discipline. While many international academics have, somewhat .understandably, shied shied 1  
Past tense and past participle of shy1.


the past of shy1 or shy2
 away from these themes-except as applied to the "local context", some others have insightfully explored such themes (e.g. Caplan 1972, Gaige 1975, Blaikie, Cameron and Seddon 1980, Mikesell 1999). While some Nepali academics have also highlighted such themes (e.g. Mishra 1987, Bista 1992), most analyses have either sought to downplay down·play  
tr.v. down·played, down·play·ing, down·plays
To minimize the significance of; play down: downplayed the bad news.

Verb 1.
 conflict and resistance or to find ways to "manage" it, the resource management inquiries. There has been a conspicuous paucity pau·ci·ty  
1. Smallness of number; fewness.

2. Scarcity; dearth: a paucity of natural resources.
 of studies of resistance, conflict, struggle etc. in as much as few sociologists and anthropologists have provided substantive accounts of either the 1990 transition or the Maoist insurgency in·sur·gen·cy  
n. pl. in·sur·gen·cies
1. The quality or circumstance of being rebellious.

2. An instance of rebellion; an insurgence.

insurgency, insurgence
 (see Bhattachan 1993, Karki and Seddon 2003, however). This must be regarded as a serious failure. The armed context of the "Maoist struggle" has certainly inhibited "field"-based studies--the staple of many within the discipline. The government security forces have tended to view the access to, storing and utilization of Maoist literature as an act of offense against the state. (Access to "Maoist" party literature remains difficult in any case.) Academics as well as others, to a large extent justifiably, have remained fearful on account of the "Marxist" and "Maoist" books on their shelves. Further, there is a pervading sense of insecurity among academics, journalists and many others that specific conclusions they reach and publish may invite reprisal reprisal, in international law, the forcible taking, in time of peace, by one country of the property or territory belonging to another country or to the citizens of the other country, to be held as a pledge or as redress in order to satisfy a claim.  from the government security forces or the Maoists. The ensuing en·sue  
intr.v. en·sued, en·su·ing, en·sues
1. To follow as a consequence or result. See Synonyms at follow.

2. To take place subsequently.
 sense of insecurity is a powerful inhibitor of academic engagement 'with the ongoing "Maoist" struggle. Nonetheless, these inhibitors cannot provide a full explanation why the discipline has been less than responsible in "covering" this struggle. Part of this failure must be laid at the door of the old disciplinary emphases on ethnography, isolated ritual performances, "integrative" features, modernity, and the newer disciplinary as well as local emphases on development, resource management, "project" feasibility and evaluation, etc. At least for the Nepali academics, this shortcoming short·com·ing  
A deficiency; a flaw.


a fault or weakness

Noun 1.
 must also be interpreted both as a glaring professional and personal failure.

Allied to this is the paucity of inquiries on large-scale and long-range issues (cf. Fisher 1987) and the micro-macro interface. Despite the legitimate criticism of discrete micro studies by many in the preceding review, few of the articles in the Contributions to Nepalese Studies (henceforth Contributions), the premier journal in Nepal for sociological/anthropological writings--and one which has been in operation for three decades, explore such themes. The political-economic perspective, which arguably ar·gu·a·ble  
1. Open to argument: an arguable question, still unresolved.

2. That can be argued plausibly; defensible in argument: three arguable points of law.
 lends itself much more readily to such themes, has remained relatively neglected. This neglect, among others, and once again, is tied to the academics and politics of the "field" and of the anthropological holism, the agenda of spatially and sectorally delimited de·lim·it   also de·lim·i·tate
tr.v. de·lim·it·ed also de·lim·i·tat·ed, de·lim·it·ing also de·lim·i·tat·ing, de·lim·its also de·lim·i·tates
To establish the limits or boundaries of; demarcate.
 "development", the nature of sponsored research, and the nature of the "project" within which many micro studies are carried out. We shall return to the wider implications of sponsored research later.

One area, in which resistance, conflict and struggle have been rather widely studied, particularly in the recent years, is the area of ethnicity. While ethnicity was often implicated--to varying extents--in most ethnographic studies ethnographic studies, methods of qualitative research developed by anthropologists, in which the researcher attends to and inter-prets communication while participating in the research context.
, the politics of ethnicity, ethnic conflict and the interface between ethnicity and nationalism has recently become a substantively salient area of inquiry. The 1990 restoration of democracy has furnished a potent site for organized political action on an ethnic basis, for inquiries into ethnic identity, discrimination and exclusion. The implications of emerging notions of ethnicity and ethnic political action on the nature of the Nepali state, Nepali nationalism and on social justice and democracy have been widely discussed as well.

This "ethnic debate" has taken two principal forms. The first visualizes ethnicity as historically and socially constructed and contingent. Ethnicity, in this view, is constructed--and sharpened and blunted-within the context of specific political, economic and cultural structures and processes. The second, essentialist, vision, in turn, posits that ethnicity is a primordial primordial /pri·mor·di·al/ (pri-mor´de-al) primitive.

1. Being or happening first in sequence of time; primary; original.

 attribute of a group of people--an attribute (or a set of attributes) which always was and, by extension, always will be, in existence.

The non-essentialist position has led to a rich debate on ethnicity, ethnic conflict and nationalism. While Ortner (1989), Holmberg (1989) and a few others laid the ground, the 1997 volume edited by Gellner, Pfaff-Czarnecka and Whelpton elaborates this position in great detail and with respect to the state and its evolution, various caste and ethnic groups and the emerging cultures and their career. The voices represented in the volume are diverse but amply demonstrate that ethnicity is historically constructed through specific political, economic and cultural structures and processes (see, in particular, the contribution by Pfaff-Czarnecka). The contributors to the volume also argue that because ethnicity is not an ahistorical construct, it is necessary to problematize Prob´lem`a`tize

v. t. 1. To propose problems.
 and interrogate (1) To search, sum or count records in a file. See query.

(2) To test the condition or status of a terminal or computer system.

As Gellner emphasizes in his introduction to the volume, the "true" essentialist position has few adherents any more. It smacks of the days of "headhunters", barbarians, races, and tribes. (For an overview and critique of the notion of tribes, see Dahal 1981, Caplan, 1990.) The legitimacy of the essentialist position have also been eroded by expanding intercultural in·ter·cul·tur·al  
Of, relating to, involving, or representing different cultures: an intercultural marriage; intercultural exchange in the arts.
 interaction, movements of population and labor, the modernist, developmentalist and liberal democratic nature of many states, and the galloping gal·lop·ing  
1. Of or resembling a gallop, especially in rhythm or rapidity.

2. Developing or progressing at an accelerated rate: galloping technology.

 commodity and labor exchange regime under capitalism and imperialism which is sometimes subsumed under the notion of globalization. Further, the essentialist position often defeats itself in as much many of those who take such a position in relation to the past and the present, nonetheless, argue that future ethnic political consciousness and practice (i.e. ethnicity) will undergo a transition to the extent that certain specific contradictions find a resolution.

Regardless, "less pure" and softer versions of the essentialist position remain in vogue among ethnic political activists and politically committed academics (e.g. National Ad hoc Committee ad hoc committee A committee formed with the purpose of addressing a specific issue or issues, which theoretically is disbanded once its raison d'etre is finished  for International Decade for the World's Indigenous Peoples The term indigenous peoples has no universal, standard or fixed definition, but can be used about any ethnic group who inhabit the geographic region with which they have the earliest historical connection. , Nepal, 1994, Bhattachan 1995). These visions freeze history, create unidimensional u·ni·di·men·sion·al  

Adj. 1. unidimensional - relating to a single dimension or aspect; having no depth or scope; "a prose statement of fact is unidimensional, its value being measured wholly in terms
 "ethnics", eschew es·chew  
tr.v. es·chewed, es·chew·ing, es·chews
To avoid; shun. See Synonyms at escape.

[Middle English escheuen, from Old French eschivir, of Germanic origin
 diversity and invidious in·vid·i·ous  
1. Tending to rouse ill will, animosity, or resentment: invidious accusations.

 political interests within and between ethnic groups, force a disconnect disconnect - SCSI reconnect  with encompassing political and economic issues and, in addition, seek to delink such issues from the question of ethnic identity. These visions, nonetheless, point out accumulating contradictions in a politically powerful manner and underscore The underscore character (_) is often used to make file, field and variable names more readable when blank spaces are not allowed. For example, NOVEL_1A.DOC, FIRST_NAME and Start_Routine.

(character) underscore - _, ASCII 95.
 the continuing significance of participatory and equity-based cultural negotiations.

Even as ethnography and ethnic studies has been in "full bloom full bloom

the stage of a crop when two-thirds of the plants are in flower; the crop is mature.
" for several decades, the extreme lack of attention on the Dalits by sociologists remains both curious and sad (see Caplan 1972, however). This inattention in·at·ten·tion  
Lack of attention, notice, or regard.

Noun 1. inattention - lack of attention
basic cognitive process - cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge
 must be regarded as a serious flaw within the sociology of Nepal. Indeed, the onmipresent and powerful caste system Noun 1. caste system - a social structure in which classes are determined by heredity
class structure - the organization of classes within a society
 as a whole has received far less attention than ethnicity and several other themes. The Gellner, Pfaff-Czarnecka and Whelpton volume is no exception, except for a relatively peripheral treatment of the caste system among the Newars by Gellner. The politically and culturally "excluded" have also been excluded within the intellectual discourse by Nepali academics. As far as international academics are concerned, could it be that those interested in the caste system and the Dalits find neighboring India more interesting instead?

The "reverse romanticism" with developmentalism and modernity--and with state and international development and donor agencies as well as INGOs and NGOs who remain at the forefront of these agendas--within sociology and anthropology in Nepal, as noted by Fisher, remains pronounced. The preoccupation with feasibility and impact studies, resource (e.g. forest, irrigation irrigation, in agriculture, artificial watering of the land. Although used chiefly in regions with annual rainfall of less than 20 in. (51 cm), it is also used in wetter areas to grow certain crops, e.g., rice. , drinking water drinking water

supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection, e.g. leptospirosis, salmonellosis, or of poisoning, e.g.
) management, etc. remains notably intense. The participation of sociologists and anthropologists,, both national and international, in such studies remains high. Such participation generally takes place within the frame of a project and, by its very nature, is generally limited to "field" level information generation, analysis of data and preparation of report. The reports generally do not contextualize con·tex·tu·al·ize  
tr.v. con·tex·tu·al·ized, con·tex·tu·al·iz·ing, con·tex·tu·al·iz·es
To place (a word or idea, for example) in a particular context.
 the project and the "field" within a larger historical, spatial and theoretical-conceptual frame. Most such reports do not become public and thus fail to be publicly and intellectually scrutinized, and thus, do not contribute to public, intellectual and disciplinary debate. "Project" literature, not the least because they are zealously zeal·ous  
Filled with or motivated by zeal; fervent.

zealous·ly adv.

 guarded from public scrutiny, very often does not even contribute to the larger, across-the-sector, across development agency and across levels of government agenda and practice of development, not to speak of the national and international, development debate.

One key, although not the only, reason for the relatively high level of participation of sociologists in such "sponsored" research is the high level of distortion in the structure of "wage" incentive. The incentives provided for work in "sponsored" research are several times those at the university. (It is also the case, on the other hand, that there is a sharp and just about impenetrable im·pen·e·tra·ble  
1. Impossible to penetrate or enter: an impenetrable fortress.

2. Impossible to understand; incomprehensible: impenetrable jargon.
 barrier in incentives for the "national" and the "international" researchers.) In addition, many international development agencies contract work out to individuals rather than institutions. Many research institutions, the academic institutions in particular, on the other hand, are organizationally, although not academically, unequipped Adj. 1. unequipped - without necessary physical or intellectual equipment; "guerrillas unequipped for a pitched battle"; "unequipped for jobs in a modern technological society"  to organize research programs and to collaborate with the government and international development agencies to that end.

The engagement with "sponsored" research, however, has not all been negative for the evolution of the discipline and its carriers within academic setting. It has contributed to the interfacing of the disciplinary texts--which, to a substantial extent, are repositories of specific Western experiences--with local structures and lives. In the process, it has facilitated the development of a critical edge. It has made available a platform for the generation of comparative information and insight. This platform can serve as a creativity-promoting site, particularly within a setting within which the authority of the text has tended to remain unquestioned and sacrosanct sac·ro·sanct  
Regarded as sacred and inviolable.

[Latin sacrs
. In addition, to the extent that the line between "applied" and "basic" research is permeable permeable /per·me·a·ble/ (per´me-ah-b'l) not impassable; pervious; permitting passage of a substance.

That can be permeated or penetrated, especially by liquids or gases.
, sponsored applied research can provide valuable input to more basic disciplinary, research.

Emphases in Sociology in Nepal

The evolution of the discipline in Nepal can also be characterized and assessed through a review of the outlets for sociological and anthropological writings. (2) Such writings, however, remain scattered in several academic and semi-academic journals, magazines and newspapers. The significance of "semi-academic" writings by sociologists and anthropologists, while lying along the borders of the discipline, should not be under-rated in relation not only to public education but also in relation to the training it can provide to aspiring and "novice" sociologists. These outlets, in addition, provide valuable space to those who wish to write in the Nepali or other vernacular languages. In addition, and despite Rai's (1984) warning against "pseudoanthropologists", such writings cannot be considered to be the exclusive privilege of the trained academics. As noted earlier, several non-sociologists and non-anthropologists have made valuable contributions to the discipline.

At present, several journals cater to the writings of sociologists and anthropologists. The Contributions to Nepalese Studies (1973-) published by the Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies Asian studies is a field in cultural studies that is concerned with the Asian peoples, their cultures and languages. Within the Asian sphere, Asian studies combines aspects of sociology, and cultural anthropology to study cultural phenomena in Asian traditional and industrial , of course, has remained the principal outlet for last three decades. The Occasional Papers in Sociology and Anthropology, published by the Department of Sociology, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur Campus, since 1987 is an additional outlet. By 2001, seven volumes of the journal had come into print. Studies in Nepali History and Society, published by the Martin Chautari since 1996, Kailash, the publication of which has recently become irregular, and the Journal of Nepal Research Centre are other significant outlets. In addition, there are several other academic and semi-academic journals and magazines, many of which are published in the Nepali language Nepali (Khaskura) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Nepal, Bhutan, and some parts of India and Myanmar (Burma).

The term Nepal originally meant the Kathmandu Valley, and thus the terme Nepali
. Pragya, Mulyankan, Himal, Himal-South Asia, Asmita, Rolamba, etc. fall into this category. In addition, during the last decade, several semi-academic and news magazine publications have focused on issues related to gender, ethnicity and ethnic groups, Dalithood and Dalits as well as specific regions of the country. Such publications have started the polyvocal genre within social thinking and writing and are beginning to make their presence felt within public policy institutions. Further, several weeklies and dallies occasionally publish articles by sociologists and anthropologists.

This review will focus on the Contributions and provide quantitative information on the some aspects of the nature and "productivity" of Nepali and international sociologists and anthropologists, describe the theme of the articles and assess decadal trends with respect to productivity and themes. In addition, the articles will also be categorized cat·e·go·rize  
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.

 in terms of the level of their "theory consciousness". Further, the themes covered in the Occasional Papers will also be described. It must be emphasized that this description and assessment is of a preliminary and quantitative nature.

Ethnography, livelihood, rituals and shamanism shamanism /sha·man·ism/ (shah´-) (sha´mah-nizm?) a traditional system, occurring in tribal societies, in which certain individuals (shamans) are believed to be gifted with access to an invisible spiritual  and faith healing faith healing, relief or cure of bodily ills through some religious attitude on the part of the sufferer. In the Jewish and Christian traditions prayers for cures and miracles are usual; thus the apostles developed a ritual of healing (James 5.  are the most favored genre within the Contributions. Many of the ethnographic eth·nog·ra·phy  
The branch of anthropology that deals with the scientific description of specific human cultures.

 articles are also based on very short-term and one-shot visits to particular "field sites" and, partly as a consequence, provide a simple descriptive account of a specific aspect of an ethnic group's cultural life, e.g. isolated ritual performances, shamanism, transhumance transhumance

a husbandry procedure in which livestock are moved to another climatic region at particular seasons, e.g. mountain grazing in summer. It is a system which encourages the spread of some diseases such as pneumonic pasteurellosis.
, dimensions of livelihood, demographic attributes. Often, the articles implicitly evoke a sense of material poverty, physical and social isolation and rather stark boundedness among the ethnic group described. The descriptive focus, generally, is on relatively "unusual" "ethnic attributes" and the descriptive mood is often somber. In turn, there is little history, little "wholeness", little explicit cross-cultural comparison and little emphasis on locating the subjects within larger i.e. regional, national, international, or more encompassing political, economic and cultural, patterns and processes. These features indicate that there is more than a whiff of anthropological romanticism here, even as such ethnographic efforts have opened up our eyes to the diverse nature of social structure and culture, provided a base for deeper and wider investigations and furnished perspectives and information which are potentially useful for preliminary ethnographic mapping.

On the other hand, sociological and anthropological writings, as reflected through the Contributions, have seriously de-emphasized themes related to politics, ideology, resistance, inequality, contradiction and change--all issues which have been starkly highlighted and acquired a particular urgency during the current era of "Maoist conflict". Romanticism, "salvage anthropology", functionalism functionalism, in art and architecture
functionalism, in art and architecture, an aesthetic doctrine developed in the early 20th cent. out of Louis Henry Sullivan's aphorism that form ever follows function.
, developmentalism, scientificity and "political neutrality", and boundedness and the failure to look at the larger picture have inflicted a potent dis-servive to the sociological/anthropological enterprise. Of course, as noted in Sections III and IV, not all sociological/anthropological writings can be faulted on these accounts. It does, however, highlight the significance of Sociological and anthropological studies which focus on the larger picture and which seek to interconnect different sections of the larger picture, which are historically informed, which do not fetishize fet·ish·ize  
tr.v. fet·ish·ized, fet·ish·iz·ing, fet·ish·iz·es
To make a fetish of: "The American public schools . . .
 "culture" but locate it alongside and within a specific and changing political-economic structure and which give sufficient space to political processes and to the genesis and consequences of social contradiction.

Approximately 30 percent of the articles published in the Contributions substantively locate themselves within and/or seek to interrogate relatively established conceptual-theoretical frameworks. That these articles substantively impinge im·pinge  
v. im·pinged, im·ping·ing, im·ping·es

1. To collide or strike: Sound waves impinge on the eardrum.

 on relatively established conceptual-theoretical frames, of course, implies that they "converse" with and contribute to the interpretation, buttressing but·tress  
1. A structure, usually brick or stone, built against a wall for support or reinforcement.

2. Something resembling a buttress, as:
a. The flared base of certain tree trunks.

 or refutation ref·u·ta·tion   also re·fut·al
1. The act of refuting.

2. Something, such as an argument, that refutes someone or something.

Noun 1.
 of relatively established schools of thought--and/or to the development of a more or less novel frame--and that their scope and significance is much broader than their immediate empirical engagement. Approximately one-half of the articles, on the other hand, even as they do locate themselves within a relatively established conceptual-theoretical framework, do so in a peripheral manner. Such articles do not bring themselves to bear on such frameworks. Approximately one-fifth of the articles remain at the level of lay description. The academic significance of the latter two categories of articles, the last category in particular, necessarily remains low.

In addition, trends indicate that the proportion of articles which substantively implicate specific conceptual-theoretical frameworks while setting up and/or "solving" a research problem has remained nearly constant through three decades of publication of the Contributions. On the other hand, there has' been a discernible rise in the proportion of articles which peripherally invoke a conceptual-theoretical framework. Whether this represents a step toward a more intense and explicit recognition of the conceptual-theoretical and comparative analysis in future remains to be seen.

This "decadal" comparison of the Contributions shows several notable features. First, sociologists and anthropologists contributed one-half of all articles published during the 70s (columns 3 and 4). During the 80s, the number of articles authored by sociologists and anthropologists declined substantially in terms of proportion. Further, during the 90s, authorship by sociologists and anthropologists declined both in terms of number as well as proportion. Sociologist and anthropologists, during the "90s", contributed only about one-fifth of all articles published. This quantitative reduction, however, also has to be viewed against the "expanding inclusiveness" of editorial policy as well as the overall growth of social science academic writing in Nepal. The initial domain of Contributions lay along the disciplines of history, linguistics and anthropology and sociology. The growth of academia and research outputs in other fields of social science, e.g. economics, development, political science, human geography Human geography, is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape human interaction with the environment, with particular reference to the causes and consequences of the spatial distribution of human activity on the Earth's surface. , etc. obliged the editors of Contributions to cater to articles in these fields as well. On the other hand, while the consequent "expanding inclusiveness" of the Contributions does, in part, explain the proportional reduction in the number of articles authored by sociologists and anthropologists, it fails to explain the reduction in terms of absolute number evidenced during the '90s. This reduction is much more troubling than it appears to be in as much as the number of sociologists and anthropologists, including those employed at the Tribhuvan-and to a much smaller extent, other-University (ies) grew rapidly during this very period. In addition, Tribhuvan University, which remains the principal institutional locus of academic sociology and anthropology, had increased the premium on the publication of articles as a basis for promotion within the academic hierarchy. While it is not possible here to exhaustively scan the reasons underlying the reduction in the number of articles published by sociologists and anthropologists in the Contributions, the opening of other avenues of publication (noted above) and engagement in the fast-growing in sponsored "project" research may have been two such the principal reasons.

Second, during all the three periods, Nepali sociologists and anthropologists published fewer articles in the Contributions compared to international sociologists and anthropologists. Some "progress", however, has been discernible on this front: While Nepali authors contributed only one-seventh of all articles-seven in all--published in the journal during the '70s, the proportion rose to one-third during the latter two decades. Once again, the "expansion" of the disciplines of sociology and anthropology in Nepal during the 80s and particularly the '90s is hardly substantiated by the record of publication in the Contributions. The record, on the other hand, does show that the "presence" of international authors remains strong within sociology and anthropology in Nepal.

As noted, one of the possible reasons for the low presence of Nepali authors in the Contributions is the opening of alternate avenues of publication in sociology and anthropology. The Occasional Papers in Sociology and Anthropology (Occasional Papers) is one such avenue. First published by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur Campus, in 1987, seven volumes had been published by 2001. Members of the faculty in the Kirtipur Campus have authored most of the articles in the journal.

The focus of the Occasional Papers is much more explicitly "developmental" compared to the Contributions. A large proportion of the articles on education, environment, resource management, population, ecosystem, livelihood, etc. in the journal falls within the "development" genre. On the other hand, and like Contributions, there are few writings here on politics, ideology, resistance, struggle, inequality, etc. Unlike Contributions, on the other hand, it has fewer writings on ethnography, rituals, caste, kinship, gender, shamanism, etc., the traditional core of sociology and anthropology. During the early years, somewhat expectedly, and as evidenced by the information provided in Table 1, the journal was also preoccupied with "appropriate sociology and anthropology" and the preparation of a programmatic pro·gram·mat·ic  
1. Of, relating to, or having a program.

2. Following an overall plan or schedule: a step-by-step, programmatic approach to problem solving.

 agenda for pushing the discipline towards greater "appropriateness".
Table 1: Key Arguments in Reviews of the State of Sociology and Social

Author Year              Key Arguments

Gellner 1970 *           Romanticism (exploration) and midwifery
                         (social development) complementary,
                         particularly in Nepal where past is very
                         much resent

McDonald 1973            At this early stage, should focus on training
                         of researchers, studies of change; utility of
                         research important consideration; high
                         significance of national academic contexts for
                         all, including international, researchers;
                         romantic midwifery possible; should shun
                         building an intellectual enclave and should
                         connect with the state as well as
                         international organizations; multidisciplinary
                         studies required.

Mishra 1980, 1984 **     Should center on the linkage between concrete,
                         everyday experiences and structural issues;
                         emphasis on historical, contextual,
                         dialectical and critical approach; recognizing
                         and transcending the politics of sponsored
                         research; going beyond the empirical and
                         linking it with theoretical categories;
                         dismantling barriers between social sciences;
                         locating the micro within the macro context;
                         connecting syllabi to local experiences.

Thapa 1973               Discipline should serve the needs of society
                         and the state and help in the analysis of
                         social change and social problems; should
                         assess the impact of major national political
                         initiatives on social organization.

Dahal 1984, 1993         Inquiry into theoretically-informed
                         ethnography, national-building, migration,
                         poverty important; micro-level studies vital;
                         infrastructural problems hinder pedagogy;
                         reservations on a single department of
                         sociology and anthropology; the anthropology
                         of the Himalayan region characterized by undue
                         emphasis on the micro, neglect of interaction
                         with outside, a search for the "natives", and
                         of a romantic locale.

Gurung, G. 1997          While relative lack of theory-consciousness
                         should concern us, we are in an early stage of
                         disciplinary evolution, and some progress has
                         been made in this direction; financial
                         problems hurting the quality of teaching.

Bhattachan 1987, 1997    Disciplinary progress much too slow; no
                         original theoretical contribution even after
                         five decades; preoccupied with "filling in";
                         should focus on local experiences: synthesize
                         the Western and the indigenous; equality and
                         social justice should become key themes;
                         students should have ample opportunity for
                         field research; many more electives required;
                         departmental autonomy and higher financial
                         incentives to teachers required; regular
                         review of department and teachers necessary;
                         separate the department into two.

Rai 1973, 1984           International researchers should not be
                         required to respond to national imperatives
                         although they should be sensitive to them;
                         "salvage anthropology". required; language
                         barrier should and can be reduced: essence of
                         anthropology must be honored by guarding
                         against intrusion of other social sciences
                         as well as "pseudo-anthropology".

Devkota 1984, 2001       Romanticism and "otherness". not
                         action-orientedness, remain predominant and
                         promote intellectual colonialism: coordination
                         required between teaching departments and
                         research centers; popular resistance to state
                         and modernization, poverty and environmental
                         deterioration should become key themes of

Bista, D. 1987,          Attending to literature in the Nepali
1996 ***, 1997           language; emphasis on needs of the country,
                         national identity, integrative processes
                         and modernization rather than on nostalgia;
                         bland ethnography not useful; dealing with
                         real political, economic and social issues;
                         short-staying international researchers cannot
                         comprehend historical contest; purposeful
                         institutions key to disciplinary development;
                         not all sponsored research sides with the
                         "overdog"; important to link social/
                         ideological features and development.

Bista, K. 1973           High significance of applied anthropology;
                         "salvage anthropology" important but "costly";
                         accounts by transient international
                         anthropologists sometimes divisive; efforts
                         required to reduce barrier posed by the
                         English language.

Berreman 1994            Should contribute to public policy formulation
                         principally by comparative, holistic and
                         contextual studies and by giving voice to the
                         oppressed, approves Ivan Illich's call for
                         "counter-research on alternatives to
                         prepackaged solutions" as well C. Wright
                         Mills' call on social science to "practice
                         the politics of truth".

Fisher 1987              "Romanticism" and "development" often vacuous:
                         "reverse romanticism". high and problematic:
                         priority to large-scale and long-range
                         perspective, and critical vision of the big
                         picture, which the discipline can provide
                         much more important than myopic and small
                         scale field studies; priority to universal
                         problems and timeless issues.

Bhattachan and Fisher    Theorizing remains weak; physical, financial
1994                     and organizational hurdles hindering
                         disciplinary growth; sponsored research
                         inhibiting the emergence of focal themes
                         within the discipline.

Mikesell 1993            Elaborating concrete conditions which are
                         shaping life in Nepal and which are very
                         different from those in the West; critiquing
                         "development", which embodies impierialism;
                         giving voice to minorities.

Hachhethu 2002 **        Lack of serious academic work by sociologists
                         and anthropologists because of the lure of
                         consultancy; financial incentives much higher
                         in international agencies, INGOs; NGOs, and
                         private research centers and colleges; both
                         students and teachers in social sciences as a
                         whole at Tribhuvan University (TU) regard
                         their work in the institution as less than a
                         full time "job"; erosion of personal honesty
                         and integrity among both teachers and
                         students; TU mismanaged and under-funded.

Gurung, O. 1990          Inadequate physical infrastructure and
                         educational materials constrain both teaching
                         and research; discipline can serve the policy
                         maker and the people as a social and cultural
                         interpreter; thus, in turn, requires
                         political, economic and historical
                         familiarity; need to develop local theory and

Bhandari 1990            Unattractive academic and financial incentives
                         for teachers; texts not available in Nepali
                         language; Nepali language should become the
                         medium of instruction in classrooms; expansion
                         of career opportunities for students needs
                         emphasis; emphasize policy component in
                         teaching and research.

Cameron 1994 ****        Shifting international fashions in development
                         theory have rendered the image of Nepal fuzzy
                         and shifting; this journey has been one of
                         sound and fury as well as one in which the
                         outsiders have been predominant;
                         interdisciplinary efforts should be
                         emphasized; priority to the inquiry of the
                         global dimension which shows how the interests
                         of external agencies condition the options
                         available for internal choice; priority also
                         to issues of power and accountability.

* In Macdonald, 1973

** Reviews social sciences in general

*** In James Fisher 1996

*** Reviews the theory and practice of development in Nepal, not on
sociology as such.

Table 2: Themes Covered by Articles in Contributions

Theme/Period/Number of              1973-   1981-   1991-   Total
articles                            1980    1990    2001

Ethnography, ethnicity,             17      13      7       37
nationalism, identity

Resource management,                5       4       2       11
population, ecosystem

State, economy, market,             4       11      2       17

Politics, resistance, conflict,     2       0       3       5
struggle, inequality

Gender, caste, kinship              3       7       2       12

Ideology, knowledge,                2       1       1       4
sociology, anthropology

Health, education, environment,     1       8       4       13

Social and cultural change          3       2       1       6

Religion, rituals, shamanism        11      0       6       17

Table 3: Level of "Theoretical Consciousness" in Articles in

Period     # Articles by      # Articles which
           Sociologists/         Implicate
             Anthropo-       Theoretical
              logists          Framework in a
                             Substantive Manner

1973-            48                  15

1981-            47                  14

1991-            33                   9

Total           128                  38

Period    # Articles which    # Articles which
             Implicate         Remain at the
            Theoretical        Level of "Lay
           Framework in a       Description"
          Marginal Manner

1973-            21                  12

1981-            24                   9

1991-            20                   4

Total            65                  25

Table 4: "Productivity" of Sociologists and Anthropologists in

Period         # Issues       # Total       # Articles by
              Published      Articles       Sociologists/
                             Published     Anthropologists

1973-1980         14            96               48
1981-1990         22            133              47
1991-2001         23            180              32
  Total           59            409              127

Period        # Articles   # Articles by
              by Nepali    International
               Authors        Authors

1973-1980         7             41
1981-1990         15            32
1991-2001         11            21
  Total           33            94

Table 5: Themes covered by Articles in Occasional Papers (1987-2001)

                                                       Number of
Theme                                                  Articles

Ethnography, ethnicity, nationalism, identity              5
Resource management, population, ecosystem                 9
State, economy, market, livelihood                         6
Politics, resistance, conflict, struggle, inequality       1
Gender, caste, kinship                                     5
Ideology, knowledge, sociology, anthropology               7
Health, education, environment, development               14
Social and cultural change                                 1
Religion, rituals, shamanism                               2
Other                                                      4
Total                                                     54


I would like to express appreciation to the Institute for Social and Economic Transition, Kathmandu, for supporting the preparation of this article.


(1.) Whether sociology is a distinct, relatively recent and modern European product, or whether the discipline--or a recognizable precursor of it, can be traced to other specific spatial and historical setting(s) has, surprisingly, remained a nearly unexplored issue within sociology. To the extent that historical and social thinking and writing is rooted in social straggle strag·gle  
intr.v. strag·gled, strag·gling, strag·gles
1. To stray or fall behind.

2. To proceed or spread out in a scattered or irregular group.

 and transformation, one could certainly have expected the sociological genre to have marked its presence during the formation and dismemberment dismemberment /dis·mem·ber·ment/ (dis-mem´ber-ment) amputation of a limb or a portion of it.


amputation of a limb or a portion of it.
 of the Greco-Roman empires and civilizations, the opening of the Euro-American and Eurasian trade routes, the decimation DECIMATION. The punishment of every tenth soldier by lot, was, among the Romans, called decimation.  of the American Indian American Indian
 or Native American or Amerindian or indigenous American

Any member of the various aboriginal peoples of the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of the Eskimos (Inuit) and the Aleuts.
 peoples and cultures and the rapid ascendance of the European civilization in the Americas during the 16th-20th centuries, the slave trade slave trade

Capturing, selling, and buying of slaves. Slavery has existed throughout the world from ancient times, and trading in slaves has been equally universal. Slaves were taken from the Slavs and Iranians from antiquity to the 19th century, from the sub-Saharan
 in and across Africa, the formation of North African North Africa

A region of northern Africa generally considered to include the modern-day countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

North African adj. & n.

Adj. 1.
 and Arabic urban regions, the ups and downs ups and downs  
Alternating periods of good and bad fortune or spirits.

ups and downs
Noun, pl

alternating periods of good and bad luck or high and low spirits
 of the Sinic and Japanese civilizations, the initial institutionalization Institutionalization

The gradual domination of financial markets by institutional investors, as opposed to individual investors. This process has occurred throughout the industrialized world.
 of the extremely oppressive and deeply divisive caste system in India, as well as the ferments created during the rise of all great religions and various large-scale and long-winded religious, sectarian, ethnic and national wars and their aftermath. The overall economic, political and cultural significance of these straggles and transitions may very well have been relatively narrower, shallower, and slower and, therefore, more contained than those produced by capitalism and imperialism. Nonetheless, sociology has remained poorer because of the virtual absence of explorations which seek to link these salient struggles, transitions and structures and processes on the one hand and modes of social imagination and investigation on the other.

(2.) I am grateful to Suresh Dhakal for helping me with information provided in the tables in this section.


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Wallerstein, Immanuel Wallerstein, Immanuel (Maurice) (1930–  ) sociologist; born in New York City. He studied at Columbia University (B.A. 1951; M.A. 1954; Ph.D. 1959), and at Oxford (1955–56). . 1991. Unthinking Social Science: The Limits of Nineteenth Century Paradigms. Cambridge: Polity.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1999. The End of the World as We Know It: Social Science for the Twenty-First Century. Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota (body, education) University of Minnesota - The home of Gopher.

Address: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Wallerstein, Immanuel, Calestous Juma Calestous Juma (born 9 June, 1953 at Port Victoria, western Kenya) is an internationally recognized authority in the application of science and technology to sustainable development worldwide. , Evelyn Fox Keller Evelyn Fox Keller (*1936) is an American physicist, author, and feminist and is currently a Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. , Jurgen Kocka, Dominique Lecourt, V.Y. Mudimbe, Kinhide Mushakoji, Ilya Prigogine Ilya Prigogine (Russian: Илья́ Рома́нович Приго́жин , Peter Taylor People called Peter Taylor include:
  • Peter Matthew Hillsman Taylor (1917-1994), author, winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • Peter Taylor (cricketer) (born 1956), Australian cricketer
  • Peter Taylor (editor) (1922-1997), editor of
 and Michel-Rolph Trouillet. 1997. Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences. New Delhi: Vistaar.
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Janardan Karki (Member): Social account 4/9/2009 7:12 PM
Could I use following version, please I give me permission.
We can now discuss the overarching as well as much more proximate institutional bases of the emergence and growth of social accounts, social sciences and "pre-sociology" in Nepal. It must be emphasized right away, however, that the roots of such endeavors have to be sought not only in other "disciplines" such as literature and in economic, political and social history but also in accounts of emerging social reform associations, agrarian conditions, labor migration, structures of resistance, popular struggles, etc. Both "literature" and social accounts, however, remain extremely sparse right till the 20th century. It has to be recalled that the literacy rate in 1950 was approximately 5 percent, the first college was established in 1917 and the 1946-1951 Rana regime was politically highly controlled and autocratic. The tradition of oral and/or reconstructive history and sociology has been weak as well (see Burghart 1984, Oppitz 1974, Blaikie, Cameron and Seddon, 1980, Mikesell 1988, Ortner 1989, Shrestha 1971, among others, however).

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Janardan Karki

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Author:Mishra, Chaitanya
Publication:Contributions to Nepalese Studies
Geographic Code:9NEPA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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