The Moral and ‘Real’ Economy of  the People’s War: the Making of the Maoist Base Area during the Conflict in Nepal (1996-2006) by Dr Ina Zharkevich

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

Drawing on ethnographic research in the wartime capital of the Maoist base area in Nepal, this presentation explores the historic and social processes through which a remote Nepal village was forged as a centre of the Maoist heartland where Maoist guerrillas enjoyed strong popular support among civilians. By drawing on events leading to the break out of the war, I will show that notions of justice and morality played an important role in the eyes of the villagers for accepting the war as ‘theirs’ and the Maoist people’s government as their ‘state’. By exploring people’s reactions towards Maoist economic policies during the war, I scrutinize the notion of popular support for the guerrillas and show that it involved a more complex inter-play of interests and sentiments than ideological affinity, including moral solidarity, kinship allegiances, and compliance with the Maoist regime of power during the war. Illuminating how the mobilisation into the Maoist Movement and the Maoist project of social transformation became possible through a whole range of  social and personal relationships, emotional and affective ties as well as people’s embodied selves, this presentation seeks to demonstrate the centrality of social, not only military or political processes for understanding contemporary conflicts  and highlight the importance of kinship, affective, and moral ties in the making of contemporary revolutions/guerrilla enclaves.

Ina Zharkevich is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University, whose current research focuses on the impact of wide-scale outmigration from Nepal on kinship, gender, and generational relations in the communities of origin. Ina received her doctorate in Development Studies in 2014 (Univeristy of Oxford). Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the former Maoist heartland of Nepal, Ina’s doctoral project explored processes of norm-remaking and social changed triggered by the Maoist insurgency in Nepal; Ina had also worked on ‘child-soldiers’ and young people’s mobilisation into the Maoist Movement of Nepal.