Spatial Dimensions of Social Exclusion and Inclusion in Nepal
Nepal is an ethnical mosaic and presents a cultural plurality. There are 100 different caste groups in Nepal, with distinct language and culture. These groups have their own traditional homelands. Such habitats are distributed over all the geographical and ecological zones of Nepal. Because of the cultural diversity, different religions have flourished through out the history. Society was organized on the basis of hierarchical caste system whose distinctive feature was exclusiveness based on ritual status with reference to marriage and diet.
Nepalese culture is rooted in discriminations based on religion, which have perpetuated both practices of untouchability and the exploitation of women. It is argued that those ranked low in the cast hierarchy are placed in the bottom half of the human development indicators.
On the other hand, about 80% of the area of Nepal is covered by hills and mountains. Districts of hill and mountain region have low level of human development indicator than plain area. People of all social hierarchy have been struggling to survive under miserable condition. Thus, low level of human development in Nepal is associated with pronounced spatial disparity and social exclusion. The horizontal differentiation is due to the natural environment and the vertical hierarchy of leading to exclusion is entirely a cultural construct.
Now social inclusion has came into the forefront of the national social, political and development discourse to bring the poor and marginalized communities in the mainstream of national development. Most of the public debate and academic exercise in Social Inclusion focuses on group base approach and rarely address the geographic diversity. This may create another form of exclusion while existing social inclusion practice continued. So, main aim of this research work is to explore the multidimensional aspect of social exclusion and inclusion issue in the context of Nepal.
Keywords: Social Exclusion and Inclusion, Interdisciplinary Study, Spatial Dimension of Sociology
Research Fellow, Social Inclusion Research Fund (SIRF), SNV Nepal