Imagining the Good Life

Negotiating Culture and Development in Nepal Himalaya


This is a book of great originality that analyses cultural change and experience of development in terms of the pursuit of the ‘good life’ as a social process. While recent anthropological critiques of development highlight the importance of ‘local knowledge’, this book argues that these critiques have not gone far enough, and suggests that a much more fundamental issue concerns the ends of development as seen from a more holistic, cultural perspective. Based on ethnographic research among an ethnic Tibetan community in the Nepal Himalaya, the book eloquently illustrates how the pursuit of the good life is inextricably tied to space and history, and demonstrates the relevance of ethno-historically generated conceptions of the ‘good life’ to the practice of development.
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Biographical Note

Francis Khek Gee Lim, Ph.D. (2004) in Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, is Assistant Professor in the Division of Sociology, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). His research interests include religion, tourism, and the politics of development.

Table of contents

List of Tables List of Maps and Photographs Acknowledgements 1.Introduction: In Pursuit of the Good Life 2.Zombie Slayers in a ‘Hidden Valley’ 3.Crossing Borders 4.Being in the World and the Rituals of Life 5.Embedding Bikās in Everyday Life 6.Romantic Dreams and Practical Lives 7.The Morality of Well-being 8.Conclusion: Place, History, and the Good Life Glossary References Index


All those interested in development and culture, tourism, globalization, Tibetan Buddhism, and contemporary South Asian studies.