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Title: The persistence of the commons : property and politics in northeast Nepal
Author: Brown, T.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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This is a study of property relations and collective action. It explores how agropastoralists in Kangchenjunga, a set of Himalayan villages in northeast Nepal, understand, use, and collectively manage land-based resources. The study is broken into five sections. The first part, I explore the ecological, historical, and social settings in which Kangchenjunga's commons regime operates. Part two looks at production and exchange and shows that most Kangchenjunga households are able to eke out a surprisingly stable and flexible livelihood, despite the risks of living at high altitude. The third section is an examination of property relations in Kangchenjunga. Institutions regulate the use of forests, pastures, and cropland: they determine access to resources, rotate and rest pastures, close areas near agricultural land to grazing, appoint cattle watchers to monitor and enforce cattle bans, and set days after which fodder on both private and communal lands can be harvested, and designate areas of forest from which green wood cannot be cut. These institutions have a long history, but they are nonetheless dynamic and flexible. Power is the subject of the fourth part of the dissertation. In Kangchenjunga, power and authority are exercised in a diffuse and diverse manner. Formal institutions and informal practices, structures, and processes govern the public sphere. Moreover, authority and power are also manifested in social relations, norms of proper conduct, and religious and secular beliefs. Part five weaves together the themes of production, property, and power by exploring recent pressures affecting property relations and collective action in Kangchenjunga. In the past several decades, economic, political, and demographic changes have increased competition for fodder and grazing, heightened insecurity of ownership and management rights, challenged the legitimacy of local systems of governance and authority, and generated heterogeneous interests among resource users. Despite these pressures, however, resource management institutions in Kangchenjunga have not broken down. Rather villagers have resisted attempts to enclose or nationalise the commons, and have modified their CPR institutions to accommodate economic and demographic change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available