NZSAC Seminar - The Hattisar: The Integral Role of The Elephant Stable in Nepal’s Lowland National Parks
Date: Friday 18 May 2012
Time: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Room 164 Psych-Soci Building or remotely through the Karen network: http://sds.karen.net.nz/scopia?ID=6237&autojoin
Contact: For further information regarding this event, please contact Piers Locke by sending email to email@example.com or by calling 4975
Audience: University staff and students
Piers Locke - In this paper I examine the Nepali elephant stable or hattisar, tracing its history of change and continuity within the broader context of Nepali state and society. I argue that although the uses for which captive elephants are deployed has changed as Nepal has embraced modern concerns of political reform, development and biodiversity conservation, the institutional sub-culture of the government stable or sarkari hattisar remains rooted in the structures and practices that emerged in the era of regal hunting expeditions for which it was originally established. With its own elaborated system of ranks and roles, I argue that the hattisar retains its own distinctive Tharu character as an enclaved and total institution. By providing an encompassing social environment in which men live and work, and are required to make intense and enduring commitments to their elephant companions, elephant handlers or hattisares represent an occupational community with their own distinct group habitus of attitudes, dispositions, competencies and forms of know-how, which is essential to the management of Nepal’s lowland national parks and conservation areas.