03 May 2018

Place-Knots: Himalayan experiences of remoteness and connectivity

Talk at the Book Launch of the Routledge Handbook of Asian Borderlands, Tallinn University

Martin Saxer

Phutuk festival in Walung, Nepal. Photo: Martin Saxer, 2016


The idea of the local community is deeply engrained in public imaginaries of life in non-urban settings. It is the target of development aid, benefit sharing arrangements, tourism promotion, and political struggles for autonomy. People moving out in search of refuge or fortune, on the other hand, are understood as migrants – forming migrant communities in a global diaspora.

Trying to understand the contemporary experiences of highly mobile trading societies in the Himalayas, neither the “local community” nor “migration” or “diaspora” are able to capture what is at stake. Based on research in Northern Nepal, I suggest the notion of place-knots to understand the continuing importance of locality and community as well as the entanglements between the two.

Highland Asia Research Group
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany
martin.saxer@lmu.de | +49 89 2180 9639

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