This detailed study on one among the many indigenous peoples of Nepal is based on more than twenty years of ethnographic research. It starts with an account of the Sunuwar's indigenous notion of culture (mukdum) as expressed in social practice. With reference to specific social fields a model of the Sunuwar person, mainly used to grasp deviations from the ideal way of life, is analysed in the perspective of Cultural Psychology and the Anthropology of the Senses. The study concludes with an analysis of healing rituals, showing that their effect simultaneously results from the ancestral atmosphere produced by the shaman and a kind of domination-free discussion among the ritual participants mainly taking place in the pauses of the ritual. Thus, the shamanic ritual is interpreted as a kind of legal mediation.
Werner M. Egli is Associate Professor at the Dept. of Social & Cultural Anthropology of Zurich University and Senior Researcher at the Dept. of Social & Cultural Anthropology of Lucerne University.