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Cultures of Economies: gender and socio-spatial change in Nepal

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This article contributes to ongoing debates animating geography today about the boundaries between 'economy' and 'culture' and their implication for policy planning. It explores the mutual embeddedness of culture and economy through an ethnographic analysis of the interrelationships between spatial practices, economic strategies and gendered symbols of status in Nepal. The fine-grained ethnographic analysis presented here is intended specifically to challenge 'best practice' approaches accompanying the recent 'discoveries' within economic geography about the significance of culture in determining and promoting regional competitiveness and in presenting alternatives to capitalism. The article draws particularly on the practice theory of Pierre Bourdieu to reveal how local 'economics of practice' in Nepal establish and maintain gendered ideologies that structure material opportunities differentially for men and women. Feminist geography, meanwhile, contributes a spatial dimension to practice theories, important for understanding the relationship between individual consciousness, action, and social change. Throughout, the article reflects on the implications of processes of cultural production considered here for the epistemological frames within which development takes place.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Toronto

Publication date: June 1, 2003

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