Public Intimacy and Mediation in Kathmandu
Voicing Subjects traces the relation between public speech and notions of personal interiority in Kathmandu. It explores two seemingly distinct formations of voice that have emerged in the midst of the country’s recent political and economic upheavals: a political voice associated with civic empowerment and collective agency, and an intimate voice associated with emotional proximity and authentic feeling. Both are produced and circulated through the media, especially through interactive technologies. The author argues that these two formations of voice are mutually constitutive and aligned with modern ideologies of democracy and neoliberal economic projects. This ethnography is set during an extraordinary period in Nepal’s history that has seen a relatively peaceful 1990 revolution that re-established democracy, a Maoist civil war, and the massacre of the royal family. These dramatic changes have been accompanied by the proliferation of intimate and political discourse in the expanding public sphere, making the figure of voice ever more critical to an understanding of emerging subjectivity, structural change and cultural mediation.