Dwelling and Displacement on the Mountainside
Chapter 4 investigates the fundamentally mobile relationship of Tamang villagers to their landscape, the historically shifting geographical ranges of their transhumance cycles, the effects mobility has on their patterns of everyday life, and the kinds of productive affordances and animate presences they talk about in their engagements with the diversity of places in the Himalayan environment. The Tamang standpoint of self-placement is intermediary to the cultural and ecological poles of the Tibetans and the Nepalis. Their realm is the ‘middle ground’ from which they ascend and descend to extremes, and in the range of which the diversity of life forms is a creationary process of fertility, giving sustenance to human domestic ecology. While a distinctively local and practice-oriented knowledge of verticality operates within the village terrain, the occasion of pilgrimage to Gosainkund provides a more expanded and extra-local symbolic frame to the ontology of living in the middle ground.
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