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  • Cited by 15
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
July 2018
Print publication year:
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Book description

This book addresses the instabilities that growing industries face in developing countries, especially Nepal. Also, what happens when industries die out? It questions the rickety ride to industrialization and development - if at all it is avoidable? The author delves deep into its impact on human lives - what happens to those hundreds of thousands of people whose livelihoods are dependent on these industries? How do they inculcate new skillsets to suit changing requirements? What future awaits those who leave the country in search of a better tomorrow? The author challenges the existing perspective that the Maoist movement was essentially a rural, guerrilla warfare. She explains how the Maoist-led labour uprising in Nepal following the death of the garment industry was embedded in a broader political upheaval that was essentially urban in nature and was more about national politics than everyday politics in the margins.


‘Economists' models are abstractions. By contrast, in this culturally sensitive and theoretically sophisticated account, Mallika Shakya provides a vivid insider's view of what was once a vibrant industry, employing thousands, and she shows how it was inevitably and inextricably embedded in Nepali society and Nepali politics, with ultimately tragic consequences.'

David N. Gellner - University of Oxford

‘Mallika Shakya takes us through Nepal's recent turbulent history that she witnessed as a citizen, anthropologist, industrial development officer and an academic researcher. In this work she has focussed on the tsunami that hit its garment factories, when they were boosted and later dumped by the United States, then swept up in a Maoist revolution, harbinger of a new political era. The story is sensational; its analytical perspective unique; its implications for development theory and policy compelling. This book captures Nepal's ‘interesting times' as no other has so far.'

Keith Hart - University of Pretoria, South Africa

‘While Schumpeter's notion of progress as creative destruction has captured the imagination, few scholars take the lessons of failure seriously, nor do they chronicle uncreative destruction. Not only has Mallika Shakya analysed the fall as well as the rise of what was an important industry, but also has mobilised over a decade of field enquiry to bring Nepal into the mainstream from its place on the exotic margins of development. She has justified convincingly her governing concept of the ‘industrial ecosystem' into which she has niched the politics of artisanal and mass production, caste, ethnicity and gender, Maoist revolutionary politics on the shop floor, the Multi Fibre Agreement and US trade and aid policy, and much more. A stimulating and enjoyable read for all scholars of development.'

Barbara Harriss White - University of Oxford

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