This book aims primarily at painting a comprehensive portrait of Nepal, between past and present. More specifically, it seeks to provide a better understanding of the recent tumultuous changes that have taken place in the country. Emphasis is laid on the rise of the individual, despite the remarkable resistance of traditional forms of belonging at family and caste level. The work of imagination in Nepalese society is of particularly interest. The author contends that mental images, the system of values, and ideological dimensions play a vital role in the cultural realm and political life. Similarly, religion is pivotal in the construction of selfhood and social life. From a methodological viewpoint, Imagination and Realities stands at the crossroads between anthropology, sociology and history. It is by combining these three different disciplines that the dialectics between local and global, particular and general can be most suitably considered.
G?rard Toffin is Research Professor at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS,) France. He has been carrying out research in the Himalayas, more specifically on Nepal, since the early 1970s. A social anthropologist by profession, his publications have mainly focused on Nepal s cultural heritage, politics, and religion. He is the author of a number of books including Newar Society (Himal Books, 2007) and From Monarchy to Republic. Essays on Changing Nepal (Vajra, 2013). He edited Man and his House in the Himalayas (Sterling, 1991), The Politics of Belonging in the Himalayas, and Facing Globalization in the Himalayas (Sage, 2011 and 2014).