Resources, Communities, and Governance
Devolved forest user group organizations prompted questions about villagers’ broader power relations. They tested whether devolution of rights of forest use genuinely transferred ownership to village communities, by applying institutional pressure points, and by attending to the fissures of sovereignty. An indigenous critique of the participatory rhetoric was revealed through looking at compliance with state-required forms of bureaucracy beyond simple resource logics, to see concerns for strategic dialogue with figures of power, including tributary distribution of hunted meat. Villagers want to know and understand the terms of potential reciprocal flow between themselves and state officials. Tamang villagers themselves can mobilize a set of narratives about the state as an integral actor in village history, and paint a picture of present and past village members who have served the state: as mukhiya (headman), as people who have served in the army, and as holders of political positions in the district capital.
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