Public Discussion

Discussion
with
Stacy Leigh Pigg
(Professor of Anthropology, Simon Fraser University)

on her 1992 article

Inventing Social Categories through Place
Social Representations and Development in Nepal

3 pm, 18 December, 2017 (Monday), Yalamaya Kendra, Patan Dhoka, Lalitpur

It has been 25 years since Stacy Leigh Pigg’s article, Inventing Social Categories through Place: Social Representations and Development in Nepal, was published in the journal, Comparative Studies in Society and History (34(3): 491-513, 1992). Over the quarter century since its publication, this paper has generated interest and praise from academics from different disciplinary backgrounds, and has managed to influence the discourse in areas as varied as development, modernisation, globalisation, social relations, identity, gender, among others.

The event will bring three Nepali social scientists, Suresh Dhakal (Department of Anthropology, Tribhuvan University), Seira Tamang (Independent Researcher), and Sabin Ninglekhu (Research Fellow, Earth Observatory Society, Nangyang Technological University, Singapore) in a free-flowing conversation with Professor Pigg on the context the article was written, its impact over time, and how Nepali society and polity has changed or not in the intervening years. Joining the conversation and serving as moderator will be Bimbika Sijapati Basnett (Social Scientist, Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia).

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Stacy Leigh Pigg is Professor of Anthropology at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. She received her MA and PhD degrees from Cornell University. Her research has explored the global interconnections and uneven translations produced through medicine, science, and development. Her research speaks to ethical questions of social justice and suffering by examining the cultural and political relationships set in motion by humanitarian expertise and post-colonial science. She has carried out in-depth research in Nepal on the creation of public knowledge about AIDS, on the cultural impact of national ideologies of modernisation, on how ’development’ schemes look and feel to the people who are their targets, and on the relation between western medicine and traditional healing – projects that all emerged from her long-standing interest in the negotiation of differing frameworks of meaning as this occurs under conditions of social inequality. Professor Pigg is also experimenting with the ethnographic form itself by exploring the potentialities of the comics (graphic narrative) medium as both a means to convey the stories ethnographers encounter in their research and as a theoretically-informed provocation to see contemporary social problems ‘otherwise’.

Suresh Dhakal holds a PhD in Anthropology and teaches at the Central Department of Anthropology, Tribhuvan University. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in different parts of Nepal on various issues. Dr Dhakal was a Visiting Research Fellow (Feb 2016- Aug 2016) at the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies at Kyoto University. His research interests include poverty dynamics, land tenure and agrarian relations, social inclusion, labour migration and livelihood diversification, informal economy, among others.

Seira Tamang is a political scientist by training and her research interests have focused on gender, state and foreign aid. Her current work focuses on gender and international relations in the making of the Nepali nationalist imaginary.

Sabin Ninglekhu holds a PhD in Urban Geography from the University of Toronto, and is currently working on an ethnographic study of Kathmandu’s rebuilding after the 2015 earthquakes, which builds on his PhD work that examined the interface at which state-led planning visions encounter the aspirations of the poor.

Bimbika Sijapati Basnett is a Social Scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research, which is one of the 15 centres of the CGIAR Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers. She coordinates CIFOR’s research on gender; manages six country study on migration and multi-local livelihoods; and undertakes research on social and gendered dimensions of oil palm expansion in Indonesia. Dr Sijapati Basnett holds a PhD in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


‘Inventing Social Categories through Place: Social Representations and Development in Nepal’ is available online through JSTOR, accessible at various institutions, including Social Science Baha; Martin Chautari; Tribhuvan University Central Library; Central Department of Sociology, Tribhuvan University; Kathmandu University, School of Education; Kathmandu College of Management; Prithvi Narayan Campus, Pokhara; and Pokhara University Central Library.