Where have all the young men gone? Social fragmentation during rapid neoliberal development in nepal's himalayas

Catherine Sanders, Kimber McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


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 social institutions and individuals. This paper investigates how kinship networks relate to exposure to change processes in two villages of Humla District, Nepal. A geospatial analysis reveals that unexpected byproducts of development affected social institutions in this remote Himalayan district. Our techniques using ArcGIS software offer visual representation of information that could facilitate the application of anthropological knowledge to a variety of issues in co Mmunity development. The findings we present suggest that increasing integration with a market econo My and other external influences exaggerated differences in social networks. Specifically, we found that th ose villages with more development activity had more dispersed families and fewer social resources at ho Me. Low kinship densities were in part the trade-off for increased connections abroad and in cities around Nepal. These differences were partially due to political polarization and incorporation of neoliberal and nationalistic agendas into local social relations. NGO staff working to reduce social, econo Mic, and health vulnerabilities in the region will need to include the dynamics of local social networks in their analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014


  • Development
  • GIS
  • Kinship
  • Nepal
  • Social networks


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