Andrea Nightingale is an Associate Professor of Environmental Social Science in the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg Sweden. Her wide ranging journal publications build from feminist theory and political ecology to explore state formation, violence, conflict, climate change, gender, and natural resource management. Her PhD in Geography from the University of Minnesota compliments her early training and professional experience in biology and environmental management. Her research interests have focused specifically on the governance of common pool resources, including community forestry in Nepal and in-shore fisheries management in Scotland. She has worked in Nepal for over 25 years on questions pertaining to governance, social inequality and environmental change in community forestry, and her current work explores political transition, violence and climate change.
Katharine Rankin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Program in Planning at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Cultural Politics of Markets: Economic Liberalization and Social Change in Nepal (Pluto Press and University of Toronto Press 2004), as well as numerous journal articles related to research interests in the areas of the politics of planning and development, state and market formation, feminist and critical theory, neoliberal governance and social polarization. She has also has over 25 years of experience working in Nepal in various contexts. Current research projects investigate commercial gentrification in Toronto and post-conflict transition, livelihoods and political subjectivity in Nepal.
Feminist theory has expanded the sphere within which politics is assumed to occur and thus can make significant contributions to research on state transition. This paper traces the development of a research project wherein we combined our expertise and feminist commitments to explore the current political transition in Nepal. The project conceptualized market formation and resource governance to be important sites of political contestation and the formation of citizen subjectivities. Within these sites, we sought to understand what ‘democracy’ looks like at different scales, especially where, when and how people make claims and build critical accounts of established social systems in its name. Here, we reflect how on our feminist political and intellectual commitments helped develop a collaborative methodology and approach to state transition that integrates ‘politics’ across scales. The insights include the role played by spaces of social reproduction in everyday processes of state and political transformation, and the analytical opportunities opened up when research collaborations take the form of a community of inquiry within the field itself. We found ourselves turning back to the long tradition of feminist scholarship to show how the household is the origin of inequalities and how such relations transmit into wider contestations over ‘democracy’.
We would like to give huge thanks to Tulasi Sigdel, Pushpa Hamal, Sabine Ninglekhu and Fraser Sugden for doing fieldwork with us and their innumerable contributions to the project. Dr. Hemant Ojha has been a fabulous collaborator and inspiration. Many thanks to Dr. Bishnu Upreti for his collaboration and everyone at NCCR who provided administrative support. Andrea would also like to thank Dr. Bharat Pokarel, Mr. Ramu Subedi, Mr. Vijay Shrestha, Dr. Naya Sharma Paudel and Mr. Peter Branney for their support and involvement in the early stages of the Landscapes of Democracy project.
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Nightingale, Andrea J. and Rankin, Katharine. 2014. Political Transformations: collaborative feminist scholarship in Nepal. HIMALAYA 34(1).
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/himalaya/vol34/iss1/15