Work, Identity and Livelihood in Nepal
Theoretical challenges and contemporary practices for South Asia
New Delhi, 22-23 July 2017
This conference seeks to engage with all dimensions of work which constitutes the livelihoods of the Nepalis within and outside Nepal. We approach the world of work with a view that it encompasses all sorts of productive arrangements we have with others and with nature, and that our individual and collective identities are deeply rooted in the work that we do for living. However, we envisage work not only as constituents of the class status – as has been highlighted routinely in the ongoing discourses – but as an identity marker that shapes everyday lives. We also appreciate that the ideas of work identity and livelihoods are entwined with broader concerns about the multiple orders and arrangements that govern individuals, communities, societies, nations and the overall process of globalization.
We acknowledge that the scholarly discourse on work, in Nepal as elsewhere, has generally revolved around notions such as labour and wage, unionism, poverty and justice. To contrast, since the studies on work and livelihoods in Nepal often tend to gain visibility through concerns for development, the foreign aid and development narratives have captured some part of this discursive field. This conference will seek to engage critically the categories of class, identity and emancipation on the one hand and poverty and prosperity on the other.
Given the framing of the field, and in the context of the processes of urbanisation, democratization, liberalisation, and globalization in the region since the 1980s, this conference will engage with questions such as: What kinds of reflections can be made on work, identity and livelihoods in a context of rapid economic and political changes? What are the emerging forms of relations between livelihood and work on the one hand, and identity and work on the other? In what ways the work-related activities contribute to the creation of changing social dynamics? Is the idea of work changing in Nepal and beyond? How does the social science discourse on work characterize the claims on either revolution or policy panacea? How do the interdisciplinary and inter-ideological studies on work, identity and livelihood complicate the sledgehammers of both “class” and “poverty”? Are studies on the three coordinates of work, identity and livelihood being haunted by the earlier focus on class or muffled by the clamouring about development aid? As Nepal struggles to enter a new era of post-conflict constitutional dilemmas and pains, in what ways a dialogue may emerge among a wide range of scholars and activists who approach work differently?
In calling for papers for the proposed conference on Work, Identity and Livelihood, we call on potential contributors from different disciplines to think about these questions and participate in the workshop. To this end, we invite papers to define, interrogate, and analyze theories and analyses that affect our understanding of work, identity and livelihood in Nepal.
We list a broad area of focus including but not limited to the following:
Please send your abstracts on papers or panels (maximum 500 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. The deadline for submission is February 28, 2017. Full papers should be no longer than 5000 words excluding reference and footnotes, and are due end of June 2017. Each speaker will get 30 mn to present one’s paper and 30 mn for discussion.
Contributors are encouraged to seek independent funding for travel. Some support may be provided for younger scholars travelling from within India and Nepal. Local costs of all participants will be borne by the organisers.
This conference will connect Nepal with South Asian scholarships through having discussants from the wider region.
Conference date: 22-23 July 2017
Location: New Delhi
The organising committee
Tristan Bruslé, Researcher, Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, New Delhi
Yogesh Raj, Research Director, Martin Chautari, Kathmandu
Blandine Ripert, Researcher, Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, New Delhi
Mallika Shakya, Assistant Professor, South Asia University, New Delhi
Awadhendra Sharan, Associate Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi