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American Ethnologist

Friendship in practice: Girls’ work in the Indian Himalayas

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ABSTRACT

In this article, I examine the relationship between friendship, cultural production, and social reproduction through reference to the everyday practices of girls working in the Indian Himalayas. I build on 15 months of ethnographic research in the village of Bemni, Uttarakhand. Focusing especially on girls’ work collecting leaves, I stress the importance of contextualizing friendship with reference to lived everyday actions and environments. Friendship among girls in Bemni is a contradictory resource: a medium through which girls reproduce gendered norms and a basis for improvised cultural practice and effective cooperation.

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