Contested Hierarchies: A Collaborative Ethnography of Caste among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

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9780198279600: Contested Hierarchies: A Collaborative Ethnography of Caste among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

In this book, six anthropologists pool their knowledge of the three ancient Newar cities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, and of other settlements nearby. The social institutions of all the main caste groups--priests, patrons, artisans, farmers, and low castes--are given extended consideration, and the study is framed by a historical introduction and a comparative conclusion. In addition, it is well illustrated with fascinating black and white photos which have been specially taken to illustrate aspects of the society under study. The result is the most complete description and analysis yet of a regional caste system. The book should appeal not only to students of Hinduism and South Asia, but to all anthropologists and comparative sociologists interested in the interrelations of politics, ritual, kinship, economy, and ideology in complex, pre-industrial societies.

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From the Back Cover:

The urban civilization of the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley provides a paradigm for the study of caste and Hindu kingship. In this innovative study six anthropologists, in a genuinely collaborative international endeavour, pool their knowledge of the three ancient royal cities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, and the nearby settlements which once formed part of their respective kingdoms. Contested Hierarchies opens with an introduction outlining the historical background and contemporary context of Newar society. In the central chapters of the book the social institutions of all the main caste groups - Hindu and Buddhist priests, patrons, artisans, farmers, and low castes - are given extended consideration. A comparative conclusion, which locates controversies about the Newars within wider theoretical debates over the nature of caste, demonstrates how the fundamental principles underlying all caste systems are particularly clearly exemplified by the Newar case.

About the Author:

David N. Gellner is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Brunel University. Declan Quigley is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the Queen's University of Belfast.

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Published by Clarendon Press (1995)
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Published by Clarendon Press (1995)
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