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From a Trickle to a Torrent


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables

1. Predicaments, Presumptions, and Procedures
An Empty Nest
The Enduring Yet Ephemeral Village
Managing the Family through Migration
Studying Longitudinal Change
The Household as a Unit of Analysis

2. Moving In before Moving Out
A Peripheral Region of Darkness
Excavating the Ethnic Strata
The Center Comes to the Periphery
Completing the Buddhist Transformation
Conquest and Indirect Rule
Continuity amid Political Change
Contemporary Convulsions

3. Embedding the Household in the Village
Rituals of Protection
The Household in Demography, Anthropology, and Nubri
Binding Households through Religious Cooperation
Liturgy, Income, and Mobility

4. Whither the Young People?
Portents of a Barley Harvest
Tibetan Exiles and the Emergence of Migration Pull Factors
The Demography of Supply and Demand
The Pathways and Magnitude of Outmigration

5. Becoming Monks
Family Obligations versus Religious Aspirations
Between Ontological Realms
On the Merits of Monastic Migration
Childhood Inclinations and Monastic Migration
Religious Networks and Migration Destinations
The Revival of Mass Monasticism

6. Becoming Nuns
The Nun Serves Her Family
From Servant (yogmo) to Disciple (lobma)
Pathways to Celibacy
Gender and the Precariousness of Virtue
Demise of the Village Nun?

7. Becoming Students
The Son Goes First
Educating Nubri Children: A Fitful Start
Valuing Education
The Efficacy of Strong and Weak Ties
Reproducing Inequality?

8. The Household Succession Quandary
A Monk Returns
The Educated Son Conundrum
The Educated Daughter Dilemma
Unbecoming Monks
Monks and the Evolving Family Management Strategy

9. The Transformative Potential of Educational Migration
The Lama Goes, the Lama Returns
Independent Child Migration and Fosterage
Educational Migration and Demographic Change
Marital Endogamy and the Margins of Choice
Marriage and the Misappropriation of Modernity

10. Nubri Futures?
Vacating the Realm of Religious Practitioners
The Predicament of Aging
From Householder Lamas to Celibate Monks
The Communal Obligation Impasse
Disembedding the Younger Generation
Parting Thoughts

Appendix: The Population of Nubri
Glossary of Tibetan Terms

About the Author

Geoff Childs is Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. His previous works include Tibetan Diary: From Birth to Death and Beyond in a Himalayan Valley of Nepal.

Namgyal Choedup completed a PhD in anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. He conducts research on migration and identity politics in the Tibetan diaspora.


"[A]n indispensable resource for scholars working in migration studies and educational research in rural areas."

* Mountain Research and Development *
"[The authors] provide a rigorous set of frameworks that would be salutary to adopt in classes on migration studies and state-society relations." * Journal of Asian Studies *
"A must-read for anyone interested in the migration pattern that is transforming Himalayan societies today." * Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology *

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