INA ZHARKEVICH, then a student at University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Generation, Gender and Change in the Maoist Base Areas of Nepal during the Conflict and its Aftermath,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner. The fieldwork was carried out in the village of Thabang, hailed as the capital of the Maoist base areas during the war. The findings of the fieldwork suggest that the 'people's war' has reconfigured key hierarchies along which Nepali society was organized - that of caste, gender and generation. However, the old hierarchies were subverted not only due to the spread of Maoist ideology, but also due to the processes engendered by the situation of war -- the exodus of able-bodied men who either joined the Maoists or migrated abroad, the concurrent feminization of villages, and inevitable change in the gender and generational structure of society. While the 'people's war' had a clear generational dimension, these were predominantly unmarried youth who joined the rebels -- pointing towards the importance of the moral economy of marriage and kinship for understanding the Maoist mobilization campaign and broader social processes during the war. The fact that such practices as beef-eating and inter-caste commensality, considered as a serious transgression in the once Hindu Kingdom of Nepal, endure in post-conflict environment testifies that the 'people's war' undermined Hindu ideology as the basis of the moral order in Nepal and introduced new ideas about morality grounded in the Maoist discourse of equality and progress.
Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
Zharkevich, Ina, U. of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Generation, Gender and Change in the Maoist Base Areas of Nepal during the Conflict and its Aftermath,' supervised by Dr. David Gellner