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Living Between Juniper and PalmNature, Culture, and Power in the Himalayas$
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Ben Campbell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198078524

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198078524.001.0001

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Selves and Others in a Conflictual Environment

Selves and Others in a Conflictual Environment

(p.241) 7 Selves and Others in a Conflictual Environment
Living Between Juniper and Palm

Ben Campbell

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks into understandings of human personhood, and the kinds of knowledge the Tamang develop of their biodiverse environment through stages of life. It examines notions of the composition of the human body, and the ways that bodily differentiation and transformation operate in gender, clan, in the relational dimensions of shamans and Buddhist lamas, and in tales of animal communication and the Tamang ‘yeti’. Villagers face a conundrum in everyday experiences of power, to bring the state protectors of the environment into relationships built on some sense of dialogue across hierarchical social difference. The problem they face is not simply the same as in dealings with other high-caste Nepalis, as the officials vested with the task of policing the human/non-human divide in the name of conservation confront villagers with the additional enforcement fault lines of Nepalese caste society have received through the modern notion of the ecologically irresponsible peasant.

Keywords:   personhood, shamans, yetis, lamas, metamorphosis, animist perspectivism

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