Concepts of the person among the Gurungs of Nepal



Anthropologists have suggested that members of some cultures in South Asia lack a notion of individuality. Data from the Gurungs of Nepal show that a high value on interrelationship does not preclude a well-defined concept of the individual. The Gurungs are a people for whom integration in a social network is of paramount importance, yet they conceive of the person as a discrete entity with distinct needs and impulses that may run counter to demands for social cohesion. Gurung concepts of the person reflect the importance placed on social embeddedness and a recognition of an individual being that is embedded. Concepts of individuality and relatedness and the ways in which they are articulated and reconciled express tensions inherent in South Asian social life. [South Asia, person, culture and experience]