Cover of Mediating the Global by Heather Hindman
Mediating the Global
Expatria's Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu
Heather Hindman


288 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804786515
Ebook ISBN: 9780804788557

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Transnational business people, international aid workers, and diplomats are all actors on the international stage working for organizations and groups often scrutinized by the public eye. But the very lives of these global middlemen and women are relatively unstudied. Mediating the Global takes up the challenge, uncovering the day-to-day experiences of elite foreign workers and their families living in Nepal, and the policies and practices that determine their daily lives. In this book, Heather Hindman calls for a consideration of the complex role that global middlemen and women play, not merely in implementing policies, but as objects of policy.

Examining the lives of expatriate professionals working in Kathmandu, Nepal and the families that accompany them, Hindman unveils intimate stories of the everyday life of global mediators. Mediating the Global focuses on expatriate employees and families who are affiliated with international development bodies, multinational corporations, and the foreign service of various countries. The author investigates the life of expatriates while they visit recreational clubs and international schools and also examines how the practices of international human resources management, cross-cultural communication, and promotion of flexible careers are transforming the world of elite overseas workers.

About the author

Heather Hindman is an Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. As a cultural anthropologist, her main areas of expertise are critical development, entrepreneurialism, expatriate communities, social theory, global labor, and gender. Hindman has twenty years of research experience in Nepal.

"In this important contribution to the anthropologies of development and work—as well as to development studies, international business, human resources and South Asian studies—Hindman offers an incisive yet sympathetic account of the intimate challenges that "global middlemen" face in their daily lives . . . Heather Hindman is already ahead of the curve, with recent articles focusing on Nepali experiences of the language exam required to work in Korea, and the political views of city youth returned from abroad. Understanding these eminently Nepali experiences of global mediation is a welcome next step that nicely complements Hindman's excellent first monograph."

—Sara Shneiderman, Pacific Affairs

"In Mediating the Global, Heather Hindman provides a glimpse into a subject rarely covered in anthropology—elite transnational laborers, 'expatria,' moving from the Global North to the Global South . . . Hindman's study reminds us of the importance of focusing on the mediators of globalization. Expatria transcend the simple dyads of global and local, producer and receiver, and origin and destination while transforming and being transformed by global structures."

—Andrew Nelson, American Anthropologist

"The book is structured such that her analysis of employment structures and social aspects of expatria are interspersed with insightful anecdotes into the lives of families and individuals that she met and interviewed during her time in Katmandu. It is the firsthand observations and tangible experiences of expatriate employees that lend both strength and cogency to her observations and arguments . . . By focusing on forms of expatria in Katmandu, Mediating the Global serves as an excellent point of reference for further studies examining how international businesses and development agencies operate in developing countries."

—Brett Aho, H-Net

"An extensive bibliography and index round out this well-researched and insightful examination of the challenges, pressures, and changing characteristics of Nepal's expatriate community, as well as the lessons that can be drawn and generalized from their experiences."

Midwest Book Review

"Mediating the Global is an illuminating exploration of the lives and cultural space occupied by expatriates operating within the global development regime. Hindman provides fascinating insights into the work, leisure, and consumption practices of expatriates stationed in Nepal. Hindman's book shows that while expatriates may appear powerful in their roles as brokers of development, they are also global middlemen (and women) grappling with the constantly shifting prerogatives of the government and non-government agencies they serve."

—Susan Hangen, Ramapo College

"[Hindman's] analysis pushes readers to face their own biases regarding who are legitimate research subjects, what comprises culture, and the ways in which global knowledge is produced."

—Amanda Snellinger, American Ethnologist