"I don't know where my sons are": Social Trade-Offs During Rapid Development in Nepal
Published: 06 November 2013 by MDPI in The 3rd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy, Practice and Education
Abstract: Neoliberal development processes are increasingly pervasive across the globe, but they are incorporated unevenly into social systems at the micro-level with varying ramifications for the sustainability of social institutions. This paper investigates how kinship relates to ecology and exposure to development in two villages of Humla District, Nepal. A geospatial analysis using ArcGIS software, combined with ethnographic techniques, offers visual representation of socio-ecological information that could facilitate the application of social scientific knowledge to a variety of issues in sustainable community development. The findings we present suggest that increasing integration with a market economy and other outside influences exaggerated differences in social networks. Specifically, we found that those villages with more development activity had more dispersed households and fewer social resources at home. This was in part the trade-off for increased connections abroad and in cities around Nepal. We explore the potenital impacts of diffused social networks on long-term vulnerability. NGO staff working to maintain the sustainability of development's successes in the region will need to include the dynamics of local social networks in their analyses.
Keywords: community development, social networks, vulnerability, anthropology, GIS