The Householder's World: Purity, Power and Dominance in a Nepali Village
Author: John N. Gray
This book is an important contribution not only to Nepalese and South Asian studies but also to the theory and method of constructing ethnographic accounts. Through a detailed study of a multicaste village in a southern district of the Kathmandu Valley, Gray proposes a new approach to the anthropological analysis of societies such as Nepal, with multiple layers of social life. The narrative structure of the account starts with the household and places ethnographic priority on it. 'spiralling outwards' to the wider society. The author describes how as householders villagers construct social relations both within and between domestic groups and how these relations inflect their understanding of asymmetry and its various dimensions, such as purity, power and dominance in wider social contexts.