Home Institution

Wellesley College

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


This project investigates discourses of modernity, globalization, class identity, and social change in Kathmandu, Nepal, through the lens of ten Nepali women’s purchase and usage of home appliances. Four weeks of ethnographic research sought to identify prevailing practices and attitudes toward household appliances in the city, situating them in broader discourses of globalization, modernity, class identity, and social change. The project is composed of participant observation in Nepali homes, including informal interviews, with project participants sourced from my own social network. My collaborators’ practices and opinions on appliances engage discourses of the developmentalist and modernizing South Asian state, fluid and shifting markers of class identity in the postmodern, globalizing developing world, and the ways in which western and nonwestern public performativity surrounding appliances interacts in the globalized, time-space compressed 21st Century to create a conflicting and contrasting public and private culture of consumption and commodities.


Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Politics and Social Change | Women's Studies | Work, Economy and Organizations


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