A case study of death and bereavement arising from political violence in Nepal

Karn, Sujeet Kumar

Social sciences
October 2012

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2012 Sujeet Kumar Karn. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

This thesis is about death and bereavement arising from political violence in Nepal. Throughout the thesis, an attempt is made to analyse death and bereavement in the context of a post-conflict situation with an emphasis on the people‘s engagement with death and their coping mechanisms for grief and loss. Chapter one, as the 'Introduction', outlines the background framework as well as the rationale for this thesis. A layout of the broader socio-economic and political picture of Nepal is presented so as to place the study of death and bereavement within a contemporary Nepali perspective. The second chapter, titled 'Death: Meanings and Perceptions', presents historical and theoretical perspectives in which death and bereavement in the post-conflict Nepal must be discussed. The third chapter 'Researching Politically Implicated Violent Death: Some Methodological Issues' provides the rationale for employing a qualitative methodology, particularly 'multi-sited' ethnography, which was used to collect data. The challenges and complications of being in the field are discussed in detail. Drawing upon analysis, the fourth chapter, 'Understanding of Death in Post-Conflict Nepali Society' discusses the meaning of death in detail. The analysis highlights the ways in which the meanings of death constructed in various cases are interconnected with one another in some visible or invisible form, concluding that death was not only a sense of acceptance or rejection but also seen as a transcendental approach and a means to self-actualisation. Furthermore, the meaning of death, appear to overlap within categories and to extend beyond the limits of categories to give a pragmatic outlook to life. Chapter five, discusses the way in which the deceased were commemorated under the heading 'Commemorating Violent Death: Ritual Perspectives and Practices', suggesting that death, when viewed through the lens of rituals, it presented a complicated case. Rituals appeared as important but challenging to incorporate, which had its implications and was recognised as a social issue as well as a political problem. Chapter six analyses grief and bereavement patterns under the title 'Understanding Grief and Bereavement following Violent Death'. It notes that handling grief and the ways of bereavement were significant when death was put to the test with the concept of living. The meaning for living was important, and was particularly envisaged within a 'dukkha' model of grief. It was the concept of everyday living that encouraged family members to recreate their own worldviews. Finally, chapter seven, titled 'Conclusion – towards a Framework for Understanding Political Death in Nepal' concludes the thesis, suggesting that it is necessary to understand death in its complexities, if life is to be lived in its totality, of which the understanding of death and grieving in a micro and macro perspective are an important part.

Publisher
Department of Social Sciences, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Holloway, Margaret; Humphrey, Caroline (Lecturer in social work)
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull; University of Edinburgh
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
Filesize: 2 MB
Identifier
hull:7184
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