The Discourse of Power and the Politics of Squatting in Nepal

  • Kathleen Gallagher
Keywords: Power and hegemony, Bakhtin, Gramsci and Foucault, squatting and urban planning, marginalization


The aim of this paper is to provide a discursive analysis of the phenomenon of squatting in Nepal. The paper begins by charting the concept of discourse from its inception as an analytic framework in Bakhtin’s theory of discourse to more recent application in tracking regimes of power, including international developments. The paper then examines the discourse of representation and praxis characterizing government and urban planning approaches to squatting in Nepal, followed by two case studies conducted in Chapagaun that illustrate the manner in which power circulates in a Nepali squatter settlement as well as in the lives of individual squatters. The paper concludes by arguing that the resources which fuel the praxis of squatting (e.g. finances, political connections and knowledge) often exclude the very people most in need of land and housing through disarticulation, or the omission of local voices.

Crossing the Border: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol.4(1) 2016: 3-18


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Kathleen Gallagher

Kathleen M. Gallagher is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in International Relations at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Her research explores processes of exclusion and dispossession with a special interest in the relationship between political instability and marginalized communities, particularly squatter settlements, displaced people and refugee populations in South Asia and Nepal. Related research interests include land, law and the environment; moral economy; and the ethnographic research methodology of transient, illegal and hard-to-follow populations. She is a cultural anthropologist and has conducted extensive research in Nepal with support from the Fulbright-Hays Program and Social Science Research Council. Gallagher completed her M.A. in Sociology at Tribhuvan University (Nepal) in 1992 and her doctoral studies in anthropology at Harvard University in 2006.

How to Cite
Gallagher, K. (2017). The Discourse of Power and the Politics of Squatting in Nepal. Crossing the Border: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 4(1), 3-18.