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Alliances and Complexities in Nepal’s Research Landscape: Migration, Policy and Scholarship

Bandita Sajapati

Social Science Baha, Kathmandu


The rapidly changing global context is having a huge impact on poorer countries in terms of their economy, politics, culture, population, and environment, to name a few. These changes undoubtedly have enormous implications for Nepal and the Himalayan region as well. In order to respond to and manage these shifts, research efforts are required to promote broader knowledge about such changes and also enhance policy impact. The research landscape, however, is fraught with both opportunities and challenges.

The presentation will focus on the institutional and intellectual politics of producing social science knowledge in Nepal, using the experiences of the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) at Social Science Baha, Kathmandu. Delving into my experience as Research Director at CESLAM, I will discuss issues relating to how the research landscape of Nepal, particularly related to the study of migration, have been affected by state politics and policies, the shifting missions and mandates of international donor agencies, and the demands and dislocations of civil society and public institutions. While addressing these complexities, the presentation and the conversation that follows will point to the challenges and opportunities for pursuing intellectual excellence under severe resource and infrastructure constraints, and engaging in knowledge production that is locally relevant but which can also receive international recognition.