Culture and the Environment in the Himalaya  book cover
1st Edition

Culture and the Environment in the Himalaya

Edited By

Arjun Guneratne

ISBN 9780415778831
Published February 8, 2010 by Routledge
256 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book is concerned with human-environment relations in the Himalaya. It explores how different populations and communities in the region understand or conceive of the concept of environment, how their concepts vary across lines of gender, class, age, status, and what this implies for policy makers in the fields of environmental conservation and development. The chapters in this book analyse the symbolic schema that shape human-environment relations, whether that of scientists studying the Himalayan environment, public officials crafting policy about it, or people making a living from their engagement with it, and the way that natural phenomena themselves shape human perception of the world.

A new approach to the study of the environment in South Asia, this book introduces the new thinking in environmental anthropology and geography into the study of the Himalaya and uses Himalayan ethnography to interrogate and critique contemporary theorizing about the environment.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables  Preface and acknowledgements  Note to the Reader   Introduction - Arjun Guneratne  1. Downward Spiral? Interrogating Narratives of Environmental Change in the Himalaya - John J. Metz  2. Healing Landscapes: Sacred and Rational Nature in Nepal’s Ayurvedic Medicine - Mary Cameron  3. Perceptions of Forests Amongst the Yakkha of East Nepal: Exploring the Social and Cultural Context - Andrew Russell  4. A Forest Community or Community Forestry? Beliefs, Meanings and Nature in North-Western Nepal - Andrea Nightingale  5. Where God’s Children Live: Symbolizing Forests in Nepal - Jana Fortier  6. Clear Mountains, Blurred Horizons: Limbu Perceptions of Their Physical World - T. B. Subba  7. The Role of Religion in Conservation and Degradation of Forests: Examples from the Kumaun Himalaya - Safia Aggarwal  8. The Abuse of Religion and Ecology: The Vishva Hindu Parishad and Tehri Dam - Emma Mawdsley  9. Restoration and Revival: Remembering the Bagmati Civilization - Anne M. Rademacher  10. Beyond Cultural Models of the Environment: Linking Subjectivities of Dwelling and Power - Ben Campbell  Bibliography  List of Contributors

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Arjun Guneratne is Professor of Anthropology at Macalester College, USA, and the co-editor of Pathways to Power: The Domestic Politics of South Asia, and author of Many Tongues, One People: The Making of Tharu Identity in Nepal. He is the editor of Himalaya, the journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies and former chair of the South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.


"The sharper chapters take advantage of the shared questions of power, misguided planning, and the social perception of the environment to advance our theoretical toolkit well beyond the modest ambitions set out in the introduction." - Will Tuladhar-Douglas, Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research, University of Aberdeen; Mountain Research and Development, 31(1):72-72. 2011