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Sweet Tales of the Sarangi: creative strategies and 'cosmopolitan' radio drama in Nepal

Sweet Tales of the Sarangi

This research examines the production of a development-oriented BBC World Service Trust Nepal radio drama entitled Katha Mitho Sarangika (Sweet Tales of the Sarangi). It positions this drama as an example of cosmopolitan cultural practice in that its writers and editors engage explicitly in a negotiation or a ‘working through’ of cultural differences as they strive towards their twin drama and development goals of communicating ‘positive’ social and behavioural change, such as conflict reduction, good governance and the observance of human rights. The research identifies a range of creative strategies employed by the producers in their attempts to link a wide range of culturally, linguistically and geographically distinct locales and situations deemed representative of contemporary Nepal. It is suggested that such ‘linking strategies’ mobilise transnational cultural capital and a range of professional competencies, the most notable of which is a willingness to interpret and represent diverse castes, cultures and ethnicities.

Project contact: 

Dr Andrew Skuse, The University of Adelaide,

    Project members: 

  • Andrew Skuse holds a BA in Social Anthropology and Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a PhD in Anthropology from University College London. After completing his thesis on the production and consumption of a development-oriented radio soap opera broadcast to Afghanistan in 1999 he worked for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) as a Social Development Advisor focusing on the role of communications for development. In 2002 he joined the Anthropology Discipline and between 2003/5 worked extensively in South Africa on a DFID-funded multi-institution research project examining the role of information in contexts charactered by chronic poverty. Skuse currently holds two Australian Research Council Linkage Grants that partner with UNESCO (South Asia) and UNDP (Indonesia), as well as with Equal Access (Nepal). These Linkage Grants explore the relationship between new digital media and poverty and the communication for social change framework respectively. Further, Skuse is working as an associate on a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council project called Tuning-in which is a multi-themed examination of the work of the BBC World Service. Skuse has extensive professional experience in the field of communications for development and has worked as a consultant for numerous bilateral (DFID, AusAID, GTZ, EU) and multilateral agencies (UNDP, UNOCHA, UNESCO). Research Interests include: (i) Communications for development; (ii) Health and behaviour change; (iii) Anthropology of Media; (iv) Conflict and culture; (v) TB and HIV; (vi) Material, mass and popular culture.