Accepted Paper:

The re-interpretation of caste in the meats markets: commercial practices at buffalo markets in Kathmandu valley  

Author:

Kanako Nakagawa

Paper short abstract:

This presentation attempts to analyze the process of the re-interpretation of caste brought about by the every-day commercial practices at buffalo markets in Kathmandu, where process of inclusion into global markets are prevailed.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation attempts to analyze the process of the re-interpretation of caste brought about by the commercial practices at buffalo markets of Kathmandu, where process of inclusion into global markets are prevailed. Focusing on the members of Khaḍgī caste who have been engaged in slaughtering, processing, and trading of livestock as a caste-based role in the Newar society, I will describe the individual negotiations between Khaḍgī and other castes from Newar society and Muslims in their daily commercial practices, and the collective activities of Khaḍgī though their caste association.

By analyzing the process, I try to propose alternative views to assess the cultural politics which are often based on given categories such as ethnicity or caste and emerged as ethnic identity politics. In the meat market, Khaḍgī negotiates individually beyond their caste and ethnicity, creating their local rules. However, on the other hand, Khaḍgī works collectively as well through their caste association Nepal Khadgi Sewa Samiti which was formed in 1973, as the first caste association in Newar Society. Recently, especially after 2000s, this caste association has enlarged its role as an agent for re-interpreting caste-image to ensure the category of caste which helps to maintain their advantageous positions in the market. I try to propose the process of their re-interpretation of caste as the cultural politics in the markets, and present its features by contrasting it with the identity politics in the political fields.

Panel P037
Comparative ethnography of 'inclusion' in Nepal: discourses, activities, and life-worlds