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Linda Waite

Proposal for Travel and Data Collection: Examining Social Exclusion of Caste and Ethnic Groups in Community Level Collective Action in Nepal

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Meeta Sainju Pradhan

My research interest lies in studying structural and ideational affects that influence the status and position of women and other marginalized groups in societies that are marked by deeply entrenched, hierarchical caste and ethnic stratification. My dissertation specifically attempts to capture this interest in two ways. First, I try to better understand the factors that affect the participation of women and marginalized caste and ethnic groups in local voluntary community groups that aim at improving the livelihoods of the members in poor societies. Secondly, I analyze the interrelationship between the experience of such community group participation and its influence on attitudes and behaviors in relation to gender related roles within the household.

I am using demographic, structural and contextual survey data from the 1996 Chitwan Valley Family Study and the 2008 Ideational Influences on Family Life in Nepal which provides panel information for over 3500 individuals. In addition, I have also recently conducted over 30 semi-structured interviews with a sub-sample of the survey respondents in order to get additional information to better explain the mechanisms through which historical, social and economic disparities affect the motivations and the ability of individuals from marginalized caste and ethnic groups to participate in community groups.

Disparities based on historical, hierarchical social norms, values and practices, continue to exist and influence a wide range of outcomes for individuals, and have also been a cause of conflict in many countries. Thus my research is of relevance to the wider South Asia region and to other poor countries as well.

Funding Period: 04/01/2009 to 06/30/2010

Country of Focus: Nepal

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