SAI Kathmandu Office Lecture Series -- February 2015
The Kathmandu Valley’s urbanization process in the last decades has been characterized by a drastic rise of population. Concurrently, many young Nepali leave the capital to seek job and education opportunities elsewhere. Therefore, the lifestyle of many families in the valley’s cities has significantly changed, challenging the previously valid patterns of care and intergenerational relations. Transcultural ideas about ‘active ageing’ and the senior citizens’ ‘potentials’ travel into Nepal’s capital through global media, the Nepali diaspora, and the development sector.
Based on current ethnographic research, this talk examines these complex dynamics from the perspective of older middle-class people in the Kathmandu Valley and seeks to explain how they come to terms and engage with their changing social and spatial environments. It assesses recent institutional ‘elderscapes’ (Katz 2009), such as private ‘old-age homes’ and varying forms of ‘day care centres’, that are designed for older persons and which are emerging throughout Kathmandu Valley as a consequence of the increasing demand for care arrangements. This talk will discuss how individuals adopt to and/or redefine the meaning of these imported concepts of eldercare. By exploring the role of social engagement of and in relation to older persons, this talk seeks to understand how they take an active part in shaping their urban community life. It dissects the diverse social dynamics in the Kathmandu Valley from the older generation's perspective and provides insight into how they make use of their knowledge and experience to impact both their day-to-day lives and their country’s future.
Roberta Mandoki is a PhD Candidate at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at Heidelberg University, Germany. She received a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Heidelberg University in 2012. Since 2013, she has been involved in the Cluster’s interdisciplinary research project “Ageing in a Transcultural Context”, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius (Visual and Media Anthropology), Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels (Indology) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Kruse (Gerontology).