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John Gray 
Survey Records of Godavari Village, Nepal

MSS 0178


Professor John Gray (PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa) was a staff member at the University of Adelaide from 1976 to 2012. He served as Head of Department of Anthropology and as Inaugural Head, School of social Sciences and was President of the Australian Anthropological Association (AAS).

He carried out long-term ethnographic research in Godavari Village from 1973 focusing on: the social and cultural aspects of the Nepalese household, exorcism and ritual healing, domestic economy and village society, household longitudinal landholding profiles 1970 -1990, changes in household organisation and community development in Nepal, and domestic space and embodied knowledge. He published two books and many journal articles and book chapters based on his longitudinal research in Nepal.

Notes on the Survey by John Gray

This survey was carried out in 1991. It was part of a long-term project entitled An Ethnographic Study of Godavari VDC. Godavari is a multi-caste village in the southern reaches of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, approximately 15 kilometres from the capital. The was designed as an expanded and more detailed follow-up to Godavari Village household surveys I had carried out in 1973 and 1981. During that period Godavari Village had experienced significant change in population composition and density due to increased access to Kathmandu due to the influx of workers and new residents who commuted to their jobs in city.

The survey was designed by me with the assistance of Mr Ashoke Shrestha who was a director of New Era. It was carried out by me and staff of New Era. The focus was on the economic and social characteristics of households in Godavari. 694 households were surveyed. The results of the survey were used in the following publications:

1993 Dharma and Domestic Practice in Nepal. South Asia XVI(1):73-88.
1995 The Householder's World: Purity, Power and Dominance In a Nepalese Village. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. (ISBN 0-19-563301-6).
1996 'The Parbatiya household in the Kathmandu Valley: context for continuity and change.' In S. Lienhard (ed.), Change and continuity: studies in the Nepalese culture of the Kathmandu Valley. Turin, Italy: CESMEO (pp 25-39).


11 boxes (1.1m) of original records from a survey undertaken by Professor Gray in Godavari Village, Nepal.

The records take the form of typewritten fields in the Nepali language with numbers filled in by hand using pen. The records appear to be undated, with minimal notations in the margins written in English.

Listed by
Marie Larsen

June 2020

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