Social Science Baha
Official

Mapping Actors in Carpet Production in the Kathmandu Valley: A Relational Economic Geography

27 October, 2005

Elvira Graner
on
Mapping Actors in Carpet Production in the Kathmandu Valley: A Relational Economic Geography

The carpet ‘industry’ has played a most prominent role in the Nepali economy, both in terms of growth in foreign exchange earnings and the labour market. Set up in order to secure the livelihoods of Tibetan refugees back in the 1960s, it has experienced tremendous growth as well as change over the past four decades. Yet, during the mid 1990s, the industry witnessed a drastic decline, due to media attacks for environmental degradation and, above all, child labour. In order to understand these changes, a study has been carried out by the lecturer to analyse key actors involved in different stages of the industry’s development. This ‘inventory’ is based on a theoretical framework of ‘relational’ economic geography, and aims at providing a relational analysis, ‘mapping’ the spaces of the respective actors.

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Elvira Graner is a senior lecturer at the Department of Geography, South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University in Germany. She carried out her field work on community forestry in Nepal from 1992 to 1994, and received her doctoral degree from Freiburg University, Germany in 1996. After joining the SAI at Heidelberg, she was appointed the Resident Representative at the Institute’s Kathmandu office for the year 1996-97 and again from 2003 to 2005. Prior to this engagement, she undertook a research project from 1998 to 2001, funded by the German Research Council (DFG), focusing on the production of carpets in the Kathmandu Valley. Her current research interests are in international labour migration and education.

(This lecture was organised in association with Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, and South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg.)