Contested Hierarchies: A collaborative Ethnography of Caste Among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
The urban civilization of the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley provides a paradigm for the study of caste and Hindu kingship. In this book, six anthropologists, in a genuinely collaborative international endeavour, pool their knowledge of the three ancient Newar cities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur, and settlements nearby. The social institutions of all the main case groups - priests, patrons, artisans, farmers, and low castes - are given extended consideration, and the study is framed by a historical introduction and a comparative conclusion. In addition, it is well illustrated with fascinating black and white photos which have been specially taken to illustrate aspects of the society under study.
The result is the most complete description and analysis yet of a regional caste system. Located within wider theoretical debates surrounding the nature of caste, the book should appeal not only to students of Hinduism and South Asia, but to all anthropologists and comparative sociologists interested in the interrelations of politics, ritual, kinship, economy, and ideology in complex, pre-industrial societies.