This report presents the findings of a two-year field research project on local perceptions of social transformation in rural Nepal. The findings, and our interpretations of them, are presented in a manner that can contribute not only to scholarly debate but also to current discussions on development policy choices and on the role of aid agencies. Our study shows that alongside the political transition, there is clear evidence of a qualitative “step-change” in the way Nepali society is organized that is beyond the continual or “normal” processes of incremental change that are always at work. Field evidence clearly suggests that many existing social norms and patterns are being challenged and are being reconstructed.
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) launched its “People’s War” in 1996. The Maoists’ rise to power was impressive by any standard. After a successful showing at the polls for the Constituent Assembly in April 2008, they became the strongest organized political force in the country. At the same time, foreign aid has been a fixture of Nepal’s development efforts since the 1950s: the donor community has been the key partner in Nepal’s development successes and failures. How did these two realities—the insurgency and foreign aid—interact?
Humanitarian Agenda 2015: The State of the Humanitarian Enterprise describes the challenges faced by humanitarian actors striving to maintain fidelity to their ideals in a globalized world.
Nepal is on the cusp of a major “transformation” from a relatively stable condition of reproduction of social and economic relations based on feudal and caste strictures to a more fluid and open condition where the old “order” is changing if not collapsing and a new order – or disorder – is emerging. This report presents the findings of a two-month long field research on the nature of changes on labor relations and mobility in western Nepal.
In Nepal, the study’s four themes, and the perceptions of local communities related to them, come together in different ways than the other case studies.