Alan Macfarlane talks about doing fieldwork in Nepal

These reflections on work among the Gurungs were filmed in the autumn of 2000 A.D. I talked into the camera in order to capture some of the reasons why I ended up doing fieldwork in the Himalayas. I reflect on some of the major changes and pressures in the village of Thak since my first visit in 1968. I also give a brief account of the history of the Gurungs and their current predicament in the face of global capitalism. [This was filmed on one-chip digital video. The clips should be viewed over broadband.]

Interview one: in a buffalo shed under the house where we live.

How did I come to be interested in working among the Gurungs?

Why did I want to be an anthropologist at all?

What were my first impressions of the village and what were the difficulties in my first fieldwork in 1968-70?

What was the main theme of my first fieldwork?

What were the general conclusions from my first study (which led to a Ph.D. and book)?

To what extent was I right in my predictions about the future?

What have been the major changes in the village over the last thirty years? (Economic changes.)

What have been the major changes in the village over the last thirty years? (Cultural and religious changes.)

Dilmaya and her family; the people we live with

What other groups live in the village?

What does 'the West' look like from the village?

Interview two: sitting below the village with the backdrop of the Annapurna Himalayas.

Where did the Gurungs originally come from?

What is the long-term history of the Gurungs since they left China?

How did they come to be recruited into the Gurkha regiments?

What was their pattern of work from the l970's, especially as migrant labourers?

What is the nature of their work abroad?

What are the pressures that drive them out of the villages?

Why are they an interesting group to study? (Ancient shamanism meets global capitalism.)

What really attracts me about the Gurungs as a people to spend my time with?