Accepted Paper:

Under the open sky: a case study of performing cultural arts for tourists in rural Nepal  


Sujan Bahadur Adhikari (Osaka University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how the locals represent themselves in the context of commoditization of traditional culture and, how the globalization and global cultural aspects interlace traditional local aspects within the socio-cultural context and economy of village tourism.

Paper long abstract:

The development of international tourism has been made a high priority in Nepal and is being explored as one of the tools for local development, employment opportunities, investment potential, poverty alleviation, infrastructure improvement and as a way to increase foreign currency income. Starting with Himalayan tourism and spreading other types of tourism such as pilgrimage tourism, eco-tourism, Nepal has recently been experiencing many sorts of tourism. Village tourism, a relatively new phenomenon in Nepal, is a new form of commoditization of people's life where the hosts are involved in guests activities directly.

The government of Nepal on its 9th five year plan implemented a village tourism program in Sirubari village of Syngja district for the first time in 1997. The village mainly dominant by an ethnic group, the Gurungs, and is solely showcases of the village tourism 'product,' e.g. Gurung cultural shows. However, Damai, an occupational caste, is involving in tourist activities such as playing musical instruments during welcome and farewell processions, and portering. Gurungs and non-Gurungs people gathered basically in Gompa, a local Buddhist monastery, under the open sky stage and perform local music and dances. Dancers wear Gurung costume and considered authentic. Through the tourism development, the village is closely linked to the global flows of people, goods and ideas that have created space for cultural exchange. As tourism is seen an agent of change, this paper shows how the local cultures have been influencing by tourism and becoming hybrid in their way in Sirubari.

Panel P005
The transformation of South Asian performing arts in the age of globalization: an anthropological analysis