You are looking at posts that were written in the month of February in the year 2011.
Posted on February 5th, 2011 by Miranda.
Perhaps this is particularly easy in the Nepali context, where hierarchies can be particularly obvious in social contexts – from the formality level of pronouns/verb endings people use to the places they sit. As Molly says, local leaders are the people who ” will dominate group discussions, and the ones who will feel most comfortable approaching local NGO staff and engaging with them seriously and sometimes even contentiously; they speak with authority and are treated with visible respect.” I can’t say I’ve ever felt in the dark about who (obviously) had power in a community, though there may also be less obviously powerful people, who are highly respected but aren’t the ones who dominate the conversation.
The most obvious way I’ve found to see who’s important is to watch who gets served tea first. Usually, it goes first to the foreigners and then to locals in order of power. If the tea goes first to a local, you know you’re dealing with someone important.
I’m in Philadelphia briefly thanks to the kind folks at UPenn who paid for my ticket to come interview. I’m enjoying my constant electricity and hot showers. After I do the interviews here, I’ll be on a bus up to Boston tomorrow.