More than an ethnography, this book clarifies one of the most
important current debates in anthropology: How should
anthropologists regard culture, history, and the power process?
Since the 1980s, the Thakali of Nepal have searched for an
identity and a clarification of their "true" culture and history in
the wake of their rise to political power and achievement of
economic success. Although united in this search, the Thakali are
divided as to the answers that have been proposed: the
"Hinduization" of religious practices, the promotion of Tibetan
Buddhism, the revival of practices associated with the Thakali
shamans, and secularization.
Ironically, the attempts by the Thakali to define their identity
reveal that to return to tradition they must first re-create it --
but this process of re-creation establishes it in a way in which it
has never existed. To return to "tradition" -- to become Thakali
again -- is, in a way, to become Thakali for the very first
Subjects: Anthropology, History, Religion
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