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Distinctly Different Everywhere: Politics of Appearance Amongst Rana Elites Inside and Outside Nepal

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Based on fieldwork with the Rana clan in Nepal, the author argues that ways of distinction differ between cultures but can be transferred and introduced cross culturally. Thus relocated, unfamiliar ways of distinction may be used as strategic tools to gain status otherwise unattainable. Taking the Ranas of Nepal as an example, the author shows with historical references that introducing foreign ways of distinction does however not come without complications. Customs have to be modified, the rules of religious obligations bent and first-rate performance is necessary to convince locals and foreigners that a new social hierarchy has been established.

Affiliations: 1: The Horniman Museum 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3PQ, Email:


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