The Partial Revolution: Labour, Social Movements and the Invisible Hand of Mao in Western Nepal | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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The Partial Revolution: Labour, Social Movements and the Invisible Hand of Mao in Western Nepal

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Volume 21


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The Partial Revolution

Labour, Social Movements and the Invisible Hand of Mao in Western Nepal

Michael Hoffmann

232 pages, 22 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-780-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-781-9 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…a novel contribution to the literature on political mobilization in post-conflict Nepal. It is unusual in that it is an ethnography of the Terai region, as well as of collective mobilization in urban areas, and of labour politics and trade unions in Nepal, which will make it of interest to a broad range of scholars working in these fields.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“By shifting the focus from the impact of the revolution to the transformations caused by contemporary capitalist formations, The Partial Revolution brilliantly demonstrates one of the main contradictions of Nepali society. In their fight against the ‘old order’, Maoists predominantly focused on what they categorised as ‘feudal’ exploitation, while overlooking the inequalities that were the consequence of capitalist restructuring in the region. The Partial Revolution therefore makes a considerable contribution to the field which is currently examining the intersection between social movements, politico-economic developments and labour relations in Nepal.” • European Bulletin of Himalayan Research

“Hoffman’s book is an enlightening work and deserves to be read by those with interests in revolutionary movements and labour conditions in Nepal.” • Social Anthropology

The Partial Revolution is an essential read because it provides a rich ethnographic account of the lives of people who continue to be marginalized. Hoffmann humanizes the freed Kamaiyas and helps readers visualize them in their settlements, at the brick kiln factories, and gain a deeper understanding of their aspirations… The book is a valuable contribution to the study of labor in South Asia and deserves a wider readership.” • Eurasian Geography and Economics

“With this book, Hoffmann makes an important contribution to the ethnography of Maoism in Nepal, as well as providing much needed ethnographic insight into an area of western Nepal which has received relatively little scholarly attention, yet remains at the center of recent political upheavals.” • Sara Shneiderman, University of British Columbia


Located in the far-western Tarai region of Nepal, Kailali has been the site of dynamic social and political change in recent history. The Partial Revolution examines Kailali in the aftermath of Nepal’s Maoist insurgency, critically examining the ways in which revolutionary political mobilization changes social relations—often unexpectedly clashing with the movement’s ideological goals. Focusing primarily on the end of Kailali’s feudal system of bonded labor, Hoffmann explores the connection between politics, labor, and Mao’s legacy, documenting the impact of changing political contexts on labor relations among former debt-bonded laborers.

Michael Hoffmann is a Senior Research Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin. Previously, he worked as a post-doc fellow at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology in Cologne and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle Germany. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences in 2012.

Subject: Political and Economic AnthropologyDevelopment StudiesPeace and Conflict Studies
Area: Asia


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