‘The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same’: Idioms of ‘House Society’ in the Leh area (Ladakh).

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Day, Sophie E. (2015)
  • Publisher: Library of Tibetan Works & Archives

The household has conventionally stood for the Tibetan-speaking region just as caste or tribe have done in other parts of the world. A substantial literature has arisen about architectural, symbolic and material forms in relation to governmental and other ‘top down’ efforts to classify and enumerate so as to demarcate territories, populations and yields as well as strategies ‘from below’ to get by and conserve household property and labour. I highlight a conventional narrative among Ladakhis as well as outside observers that narrates the fragmentation of previous household forms in the Leh area. Focusing on Ladakhi views, I hope to describe both how everything has changed and yet also stayed the same drawing on three generations in a single family. Their memories encompass a period since the 19302 and I suggest that this narrative is not simply a series of reflections about the house but rather a story that is internal to the household, refracted across the decades by each generation in turn.
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