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Introduction: In pursuit of the good life

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book and its chapters. The book shows how the villagers of Langtang in Nepal strive to attain both material and spiritual well-being as they are incorporated into the Nepalese state and engage with the global capitalist economy, and about how their society is transformed in the process. It argues for anthropological inquiry into the notion of the good life, since it is undeniably a major, if not the fundamental, preoccupation of most peoples. Like other peoples, the Langtangpa?s search for the good life is not a simple matter, easily attained without pain, sacrifice and contradiction. The Langtangpa?s ideas concerning the good life, like the ?local knowledge? in recent anthropological discussions on development, should be seen as resulting from ?complex negotiation practices linked to knowledge interfaces?, involving both local and external actors in relationships imbued with unequal power and access to resources.

Keywords: anthropological inquiry; complex negotiation practices; global capitalist economy; good life; knowledge interfaces; Langtangpa; Nepal



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