People of lower caste live throughout the villages of Nepal but have been noticeably absent from ethnographic accounts of the Himalayan region. Starting from the perspective of lower-caste Hindu women, Mary M. Cameron offers a long-overdue study of artisans and farmers in western Nepal.
On the Edge of the Auspicious skillfully shows the connections between caste hierarchy and gender relations leading to domestic, economic, and religious power of lower-caste women. Situating her study in the history of land ownership and contemporary family and work relations, Cameron explains how and why patriarchal ideology associated with high-caste families in Nepal does not apply to women of lower caste. Drawing on data from work, family, and religious domains, this ethnography goes further than other current studies of caste hierarchy in South Asia to show the everyday material and ideological dimensions of domination and lower-caste people's resistance to them.