Continuity and Change in Population Movement: From Inside a Rural Nepali Community

Subedi, Bhim Prasad
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 1993]
Most research on territorial mobility is based on an epistemology developed from the western intellectual tradition and there is an absence of perspectives from inside the local cultures to which movers belong. This study is set within the broader question of whether there is continuity or discontinuity in that behavior summarized in the term 'human territorial mobility.' It takes an interpretive stance, where understanding the meanings of human behavior is given more prominence than normative positions. A focus on rural societies of South Asia, particularly ones that are more traditional, is assumed to provide a view from inside such society and to offer alternative conceptions of mobility. It is an approach to people's mobility that is holistic and integrative, but with a particular concern for the historical, cultural, ethnic, and social dimensions. The analysis is based on eighteen months field work in Namsaling, a village located in the eastern hills of Nepal. Information derives from a range of instruments: field census, ongoing mobility registers, family genealogies, life histories, folk sources, and participant observation. Particular attention is paid to folk sources, because these are important to illuminate the context, feelings, and attitudes of people, whether movers or stayers. From time immemorial, territorial mobility has been an essential component in the lives of rural individuals and their households, as it manifests the cultural, economic, social, and ethnic groupings of society. In both the rural typology and the world views elicited from field data, territorial mobility displays separations of time, space, activity, and place; it also expresses rural actions as a collective consideration of meanings, social groupings, and stages in a lifecycle. Unlike more industrialized societies, mobility does not entail the abandonment or rejection of a rural 'home' for another 'reach,' but rather full participation in social, cultural, and economic lifestyles. This inquiry demonstrates that the issue of continuity or discontinuity in mobility over long period of time is complex, being neither exclusively one nor the other. Many forms of mobility have endured, some have been modified, and some have dissipated, just as other new ones have emerged. There has been continuity and also change.
PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 1993
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 337–356).
Nepal, population movement, integrated field design, coping strategies, boundaries and meanings, agriculture, economy, population growth, territorial mobility, rural typology, socioeconomic movement, cultural/religious movement, changes in rural mobility, place, Indigenous typologies, multi-locality, intergenerational change
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