Title:Living Between Juniper and Palm: Nature, Culture, and Power in the Himalayas
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Remarks:B&W Photographs, Glossary, Bibliography and Index.
Size:145 x 223 mm
The Himalayas have iconic status in the global biosphere, but how well understood are the relationships between Himalayan people and their environment? How can anthropological approaches to the environment help in understanding local people’s responses to nature protection? How does culture figure alongside nature in the modern cosmology of knowledge about the non-human world? Living between Juniper and Palm is an ethnographic study of the Tamang people of the Nepal Himalayas. In approaching issues of sustainability, ecology, and livelihood among the Tamang, the author locates people and environments in a relationship that does not depend upon a split between bio-physical reality and an overlay of cultural meaning. Drawing from various critical perspectives for analysing human–environment relations, including phenomenology and political ecology, the book documents indigenous environmental knowledge—about forests, pathways, animals, and ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’ between humans and non-humans. Modern conservation practices are contrasted to shamanic and Hindu cosmologies, providing a cultural analysis to the power dimensions of ‘participatory conservation’ affected by Nepal’s Maoist civil war. The approach of this book is to describe and analyse perspectives on environmental practices, politics, and narrative discourses in a community that has no idea of the environment as a totality, independent of human presence. For administrators, foresters, and biodiversity scientists, this is precisely what has to be rectified: people are seen as needing to be sectioned off from nature to prevent worsening states of forest, soil, and species loss. The book offers anthropologically informed alternatives for translating sustainability.