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The gendered politics of environmental management within transhumant pastoral communities in the Nepalese Himalayas

Author Tara Bate
Director of thesis Prof. Peter Finke
Co-director of thesis Prof. Tobias Haller
Summary of thesis Mountain areas such as the Himalayas are often inhabited by pastoralists whose livelihoods are closely dependent upon natural resources or common pool resources – e.g. (but not limited to) grass, fodder, water, wild animals and foods – and biodiversity – i.e. the natural or humanly produced diversity of fauna and flora, crops and livestock breeds. Biodiversity in these cultural landscapes are known to be particularly rich in mountain areas, but also make for fragile environments. Over the last few decades, the Himalayas have undergone major climatic stress – such as an increased variability in weather patterns or the melting of glaciers – with repercussions on the environment and local communities. In the attempt to mitigate their ecological footprint, and to comply with international organisations’ pressures, national policies have not only neglected pastoralists’ specific knowledge and institutions (rules and regulations) in the management of these resources, but also exaggerated these communities’ responsibility in the degradation of these resources. Aside from their ethical and scientific implications, these shortcuts have also led policies to have counterproductive effects, as well as threatening local peoples’ livelihoods and further increasing gender imbalances, by adding institutional and socio-economic pressures to existing ecological ones. In this context, our hypothesis is that behind the community management of the environment, women and men have different knowledge, ownership, access, use rights, roles and interests on these matters. As climate change adds to the constellations of institutional and socio-economic changes (such as the out-migration of men), the research will address the impact these have on the neglected issue of gender roles and relations, and how these are renegotiated and legitimized, in the context of environmental management practices and knowledge.
Status beginning
Administrative delay for the defence
URL http://www.isek.uzh.ch/de/ethnologie/Personen/Personen/tarabate.html
LinkedIn Tara Bate