A certain practice associated with the tourism industry in Nepal’s Chitwan district — the ‘village walk’ — has become one way through which ethnic status can be expressed and claims to modernity made by local people. Rather than negate locality, globalization reinforces it by providing people with new frameworks through which to interpret their social experience. The ideology of modernity has replaced that of caste as the way in which Tharus and Brahmans in rural Nepal understand inter-ethnic relationships; foreign tourists serve as a foil for this reinterpretation through the practice of the village walk, in which high caste tourist guides conduct tourists on cultural tours of Tharu villages. The representation of Tharus as ‘primitive’, ‘jungly’ and living in another time meets both the desire of tourists for exotic experiences and that of high caste Nepalis who wish to represent themselves as belonging to the modern world from which the tourists presumably come.
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