Theorizing Aging in Nepal: Beyond the Biomedical Model

Sara Parker, Rose Khatri, Ian G. Cook, Bijan Pant


This paper has in part emerged from work recently undertaken by Parker and Pant under a British Academy funded Small Grant examining the phenomenon of aging in Nepal. This has enabled them to work in collaboration with the Nepal School of Social Work in Kathmandu to both generate locally relevant empirical research on aging and to facilitate the creation of spaces for dialogue on the implications of aging in Nepal. As a result of this project a network of key academics, activists, government policy makers and non-government organizations, both national and international, has been formed. The findings of this study reveal a lack of both empirical data and theoretical development on aging in Nepal. Aging in the west is often viewed from a biomedical perspective where the emphasis is on medical treatment and health and social care arrangements. Biomedicine also dominates international health strategies, organizations, and the funding streams for aid, of which Nepal is a recipient. Whilst longevity is clearly a positive outcome of development, it also presents health and social care dilemmas. This paper provides an opportunity to explore some of these key issues and highlights the need for practitioners, policy makers and the research community in Nepal to provide an open dialogue in which local, culturally appropriate decisions can be developed in the best interest of older people in Nepal.


Aging, Nepal, Development, Biomedical Model, Sociology of Aging, Social Theory

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