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The Emergence of Conversion in a Hindu-Buddhist Polytropy: The Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, c. 1600–1995

  • David N. Gellner (a1)
Extract

The practice of conversion—changing from one religion to another—is certainly not a modern invention, but it takes on a new and sometimes threatening significance in a modern context characterized by censuses, elections with universal suffrage, and majority rule. In the modern world separate religions have come to be defined, like ethnic groups or nations (Barth 1969), by the boundaries between them. One can only be a refugee if one flees across an international boundary; likewise, conventionally, religious change is only labeled “conversion” if it occurs across a boundary. Thus, as boundaries have become sharper between ‘religions,' so the issue of conversion has grown in political significance.

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