Development and Public Health in the Himalaya: Reflections on healing in contemporary Nepal, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Development and Public Health in the Himalaya

Reflections on healing in contemporary Nepal, 1st Edition

By Ian Harper


164 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138097889
pub: 2017-05-25
Hardback: 9780415659987
pub: 2014-02-03
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315852508
pub: 2014-02-05
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Engaging with a range of public health issues, this book charts important social and political transitions in Nepal through the lens of medicine and health development. It focuses on mission health care institutions, tuberculosis control programmes as a site of medical intervention, the "pharmaceuticalization" of mental health and public health, and in relation to development ideologies the attempted creation of modern subjects and citizens to advance the health of the nation.

Based on two decades of experience, both as a physician and public health professional and an anthropologist, the author presents these issues through four case studies of health programme intervention in a district in central Nepal to show the inter-related aspects of the processes. The book explains how local realities align with, resist, and are complicated by globalized narratives and practices of health and development. It pays careful attention to traditional healers, infectious disease, micronutrient initiatives, mental health and the historical, ideological, and political-economic context of mission-based development work.

Offering an ethnographic picture of the challenges and possibilities for action that exist in Nepal , this book is of interest to academics in the field of medical and development anthropology and those working directly in the fields of health and development.


"This is an excellent study "from the ground up," with the author’s twin disciplinary training resulting in a balanced appraisal of his subject, neither too theoretical nor too scientific, and one alive to the ambiguities of both medical and anthropological approaches." A. C. McKay, International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Palpa and Its Healing Traditions 3. The view from the clinic 4. "Caught in the middle": Power, efficacy and healing 5. "It’s the Sweet Smell of Gold" – A Particular History of the Mission Hospital 6. Introducing Psychiatric Services 7. Capsular Promise as Public Health and the Vitamin A Programme 8. Creating Order from Treatment Chaos: Implementing Protocols and the Control of Tuberculosis

About the Author

Ian Harper is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.

About the Series

Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series

This series is published in association with the Centre for South Asian Studies, Edinburgh University - one of the leading centres for South Asian Studies in the UK with a strong interdisciplinary focus. It presents research monographs and high-quality edited volumes as well as textbook on topics concerning the Indian subcontinent from the modern period to contemporary times. It aims to advance understanding of the key issues in the study of South Asia, and contributions include works by experts in the social sciences and the humanities. In accordance with the academic traditions of Edinburgh, we particularly welcome submissions which emphasise the social in South Asian history, politics, sociology and anthropology, based upon thick description of empirical reality, generalised to provide original and broadly applicable conclusions.

The series welcomes new submissions from young researchers as well as established scholars working on South Asia, from any disciplinary perspective.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies