Mediating the Global: Expatria's Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu

By Heather Hindman | Go to book overview

Conclusion
Kathmandu’s Twenty-First-Century Expatria

THIS BOOK HAS EXAMINED the shifting character of expatriate workers and families in Nepal between 1990 and 2012 through the lens of their labor as midlevel global professionals and the bureaucratic transformations inflicted upon them—and often by them—in Nepal. In displacing two significant dyads— public/private and global/local—I have sought to present a story that juxtaposes centrally determined best practices and everyday life among foreign workers and their interlocutors in Kathmandu. While accepting many of the critiques of global business and development put forth by anthropology and other humanist fields, in Mediating the Global I have brought to the fore the institutional, technical and financial impingements upon the life of expatriates. In examining the so-called best practices that are applied to expatriate workers, such as balance sheet compensation and flexpatriate employment, one observes moves of efficiency and neoliberalism that are familiar from other realms of business as well as from the projects of expatriate workers themselves. As a population caught between locations, changing philosophies and new practices, expatriates feel the negative repercussions of these policies, even as they seek to promote them. As a result, the package expatriate, once the norm of Expatria in Nepal, is in decline, with many new forms of precarious labor seeking to fill the spaces left behind. Local and international consultants, voluntourists and ex-military professionals now do the work once done by professional expatriates. Yet, in taking this not merely as a story of changing labor practices, but of how these interact with life beyond the office, this book shows how the new expatriate worker is also changing the social life of Expatria and the kind of work it is possible to do in Nepal, given a new class of experts and amateurs who are replacing the professional expatriate.

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