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Hardman, Charlotte Elizabeth (1990) Conformity and self-expression: A study of the Lohorung Rai of East Nepal. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis is an anthropological study of the Lohorung Rai tribe of East Nepal, based on twenty months of fieldwork. Its major theme is their conceptual system and in particular their religious and psychological concepts. The intention throughout has been to look at concepts, both verbal and non-verbal, in the light of my own developing knowledge of the Lohorung conceptual framework. The thesis is divided into seven chapters. The introductory chapter provides a background description, including an account of first impressions and fieldwork experiences, as well as the theoretical perspective of the thesis, a delineation of Lohorung households, and the significance of the domestic group. Since the superhuman beings permeate Lohorung everyday life, and provide them with a theory of causation, chapter two describes Lohorung relations with the superhuman world. For the Lohorung it is only by ritual action that they can retain the original order of their society which is constantly in need of renewal. Chapter three, therefore, looks at the Lohorung charter for living, the pe-lam or mundum, a body of oral literature that includes the mythico-historical stories and ritual texts that can bring back order and reinvigorate both their society and individuals, One of the most important rituals for achieving this renewal is nuagi. This ritual is described in detail in chapter four. Chapter four also investigates the religious and psychological significance of the house, the main ritual unit in Lohorung culture and begins to throw light on the complex concept-of saya, that is essential to an understanding of Lohorung ideas about the nature of Kan and personhood. In chapter five the most important concepts relating to the Lohorung understanding of personhood, namely aiwa, saya and lawa, are examined in terms of their significance in the cycle of life. This chaz5ter underlines one of the main conclusions of the thesis: that an understanding of Lohorung religious and psychological concepts are essential to a wider appreciation of Lohorung society, such as their types of marriage and indigenous political system. Lohorung understanding of emotions and inner states are described in the final ethnographic chapter, chapter six, The final chapter examines the implications of the Lohorung knowledge gained in the previous chapters in terms of Lohorung ethnopsychology and concludes that Lohorung psychology may be characterised as being one that stresses both conformity and self- expression.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:00

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