the capacity of a person to act independently and make their own choices.


refers to being neither strongly feminine or masculine or the combination of feminine and masculine characteristics.


A political doctrine that requires strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.


a social or physical space where people get help putting together a performance. Others help them perfect their portrayal of a particular role that they will demonstrate at another time or place.

biological determinism

the unfounded idea that biology is destiny and that nature, not culture, determine the abilities and practices of males and females.

Black feminist epistemology

represents Black women’s concerns and interests as opposed to that of white males. It speaks to alternative ways of producing and validating knowledge based on experiences of subjugated groups (Collins 2000).

Bracero program

a temporary worker program operating from 1942 to 1964 to address the labor shortages in the 1940s caused by World War II. The original objective of the Bracero program was to employ a large, temporary labor force to harvest fruits and vegetables for US consumption.

brain drain

the phenomenon of well-educated, skilled workers emigrating from countries in the Global South to countries in the Global North where they have prospects for better pay and living conditions.

caste system

Indian kinship is always grouped around a system of social stratification based on birth status known as the caste system.


refers to individuals who identify with the sex and gender assigned to them at birth.


the assumption that privileges cisgender as the norm (that is, gender identity that corresponds to a person’s sex at birth).

citizens by descent

in the current Nepali context, citizenship by descent is the full/first-class category of citizenship. It is available to people who can prove that their fathers are Nepali citizens.


the whole range of political, economic, and social rights and duties attached to membership in a nation or community.

coming-of-age ritual

rituals that mark a transition from youth to adulthood.

companionate marriage

a marriage based on emotional fulfillment rather than the traditional foci of economic production and social reproduction. It has become the ideal type of marriage in many parts of the world.

compensatory masculinity

Acts undertaken to reassert one’s manliness in the face of a threat (Wade and Ferree 2019, 142).


leaders of the Spanish conquest of the Americas during the fifteenth to sixteenth centuries.

consensual union

a couple that cohabitates without being legally married.

cultural relativism

the idea that we should seek to understand another person’s beliefs and behaviors from the perspective of their own culture and not our own.


formerly “untouchable” community in India.

direct sales

a marketing strategy in which sales are made in face-to-face interactions with vendors away from a store or formal retail location.


payments made to the groom’s family by the bride’s family before marriage.


the act of leaving one’s home country to permanently settle in another country.

emotional labor

the process of managing one’s own feelings in order to manage the feelings of others, as described by Hochschild (1983). For example, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, coworkers, and superiors.


a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and origins of knowledge and stresses that knowledge is always socially constructed (Collins 2005).

erectile dysfunction (ED)

the idea that penile erections that do not meet cultural ideals are a medical pathology, defined clinically as the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance.

erotic agency

the ability to act and gain pleasure and even a position of power due to being considered erotically attractive.


In the workplace, this notion describes the socioeconomic process leading to a concentration of workers of certain nationalities or origins in particular sectors and jobs.


the tendency to view one’s own culture as most important and correct and as the yardstick by which to measure all other cultures.


the in-depth study of the everyday practices and lives of a people.

exculpatory chauvinism

The tendency to absolve men of responsibility for performances that embody negative male stereotypes, while simultaneously offering social rewards [such as social status] for such behavior (Wade and Ferree 2019, 139).

female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C)

surgeries to alter the external female genitalia. It may include cliterotectomy, removing and/or suturing the labia.


refers to the intentional killing of females (women or girls) because of their gender.


the idea that there should be economic, social, and political equality between people regardless of sex or gender.

first-wave feminism

from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century, focusing on earning the right to vote and emancipation of women from fathers and husbands.

fluid sexuality

romantic and sexual attraction can change over time, situation, and context.

fourth-wave feminism

began around 2012 to address sexual harassment, body shaming, and rape culture, among other issues. It is characterized by a focus on the global empowerment of women, the greater inclusion of diverse perspectives and voices, and the use of social media in activism.

front stage

a social or physical space where people are aware that they are performing a role for observers and a series of behaviors that social actors are expected to demonstrate.

gay for pay

individuals who identify as heterosexual but engage in homosexual behaviors and acts, for money, material goods, or other forms of security (e.g., housing)


The ideas and expectations we attach to biological sex which can vary across time and cultures.

Gender and Development (GAD) approach

originated in the 1980s and has been adopted by feminists who place gender at the center of development processes. It focuses on how social roles, reproductive roles, and economic roles are linked to gender inequalities of masculinity and femininity (Mortley 2017).

gender complementarity

the ideal that men and women have equal status defined by their participation in separate but equally valued social realms (e.g., men earn status by farming; women earn status by completing housework). Gender complementarity is rarely achieved but is often recognized as a social ideal.

gender ideology

The assumptions we make about how gendered individuals should act in social life (appearance, sexual attraction, abilities, demeanor, roles, etc.)

gender regime

refers to the specific ways in which gender relationships are organized in a hierarchical manner within societies and institutions.

gender roles

the tasks and activities that a specific culture assigns to a gender.


a headcovering or headscarf worn by some married Hindu, Jain and Sikh women to cover their heads, and often their faces.

Global North

does not refer to a geographic region in any traditional sense but rather to the relative power and wealth of countries in distinct parts of the world. The Global North encompasses the rich and powerful regions such as North America, Europe, and Australia.

Global South

does not refer to a geographic region in any traditional sense but rather to the relative power and wealth of countries in distinct parts of the world. The Global South encompasses the poor and less powerful countries in areas such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia.


the worldwide intensification of social and economic interactions and interdependence between disparate parts of the world.


a combination of the words “globalization” and “localization.” Refers to ways that a cultural product is developed by one culture and adopted by the local culture to accommodate local needs and preferences.

hegemonic discourse

a discourse that promotes the dominance of one group over another supported by legitimating norms and ideas that normalize dominance. Using collective consent rather than force, dominant social groups maintain power, and social inequalities are naturalized.

hegemonic masculinity

a concept developed by Connell (1995) arguing that there are certain traits, behaviors, and discourses associated with masculinity that are valued and rewarded by dominant social groups and that the performance of hegemonic masculinity helps to legitimize power and inequality.

hegemonic masculinity theory (HMT)

a theory developed by Connell (1995) arguing that there are certain traits, behaviors, and discourses associated with masculinity that are valued and rewarded by a culture or society’s dominant social groups and that the performance of hegemonic masculinity helps to legitimize power and inequality, or more specifically, patriarchy.


the dominance of one group over another supported by legitimating norms and ideas that normalize dominance. Using collective consent rather than force, dominant social groups maintain power and social inequalities are naturalized.


a company that makes and sells nutritional supplements and whose sales model is a multilevel marketing scheme focused on direct sales.


a term that describes how sexuality is constructed in society and the politics around such constructions that assume everyone is heterosexual.

hijra gharanas

symbolic units of lineage guiding the overall schematic outlining of the social organization of hijra community in India.

hijra kinship

androgynous nonbinary family network, the continuation of which is based on a nonbiological discipleship-lineage system, which is based on power relations that are further legitimized by internal hijra councils.

hijra prestige economy system

a system of kin relatedness within the hijra community based on the social standing of hijras to one another.


also known as “third” gender in India; can be understood as subaltern forms of trans-queer identities existing within a prestige economy system of kinship networks.


the idea that the parts of a system interconnect and interact to make up the whole.

impression management

the manner in which individuals present themselves and create a perception in the mind of others by changing status and roles depending on social interaction.

Indigenista project

the twentieth-century effort by Mexican leaders to promote the Spanish language and Mestizo culture to Indigenous communities in order to facilitate their “integration” into the “modern” nation-state.


refers to people who originated in or are the earliest-known inhabitants of an area. Also known as First Peoples, First Nations, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples.

initiation ritual

a ritual that incorporates a person into a certain group or community.


refers to the interconnected nature of social categories such as race, class, and gender that create overlapping systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The goal of an intersectional analysis is to understand how racism, sexism, and homophobia (for example) interact together to impact our identities and how we live in our society.

Islamic feminism

A feminist movement that seeks freedom of religion on the basis of a multifaceted definition of femininity that recognizes both religiosity and women's agency within society.


fear of, and prejudice against the Islamic faith and Muslims in general.

John schools

forced rehabilitation program for men arrested for solicitation that teaches the negative consequences of prostitution on communities, families, and women (Nathanson and Young 2001).


a household system in which members of more than one generation of a unilineal descent group live together.

jus sanguinis

the legal principle of granting citizenship through blood (family relationships).

jus soli

the legal principle of granting citizenship through soil (place of birth).


effeminate men who are mostly gay or bisexual and are not affiliated to any hijra gharana.


refers to mestizos and Westernized Indigenous Latin Americans who primarily speak Spanish.

legitimizing ideologies

a set of complex belief systems, often developed by those in power, to rationalize, explain, and perpetuate systems of inequality.

life course

the lifetime of an individual person from birth to death.

life-cycle ritual

a ritual that marks or performs life-course transitions such as birth, marriage, and death.


a widely critiqued form of masculinity characterized by violence and womanizing, often attributed to Latin American men’s cultural inheritance from Spanish Conquistadors. The idea of machismo is rooted in unfounded assumptions about the nature of Latin American men; however, these ideas have social consequences that then affect people’s bodies and behavior.


the southern part of Nepal, bordering India. It is linguistically and culturally distinct in many ways from the hilly regions of Nepal. The Madhes is also called the Terai or Tarai.


a gender ideology in which certain feminine characteristics are valued above others. These include being submissive, chaste, virginal, and morally strong.


the culturally specific traits, behaviors, and discourses expected of men.

maternal citizenship

a form of citizenship in which women’s rights and duties are based on their maternal status.


Households or family groups consisting mainly of female relatives.


societies where descent or kinship group membership are transmitted through women, from mothers to their children (male and female), and then through daughters, to their children, and so forth.


married individuals who live with or near the wife’s mother’s family.


recipients of a service or program must fall below a set income level in order to be eligible.


a social process in which areas of life previously understood in other ways (for example, as social, religious or other kinds of issues) come to be seen as medical concerns to be treated by doctors.


literally means “mixed race,” and refers to people of Spanish and Indigenous descent. In the early twentieth century, Mexican officials celebrated Mexico as a mestizo nation. In practice, mestizos are usually defined culturally by markers such as the use of Spanish language and Western (non-Indigenous) dress.


a sustainable system of farming where multiple types of crops are planted together. The crops planted are nutritionally and environmentally complementary such as beans, corn, and squash.


refers to the contempt or hatred for women, often expressed as prejudice or discrimination.


the movement of people, things, and ideas, and the social implications of those movements. Mobilities scholars explore topics such as human migration, tourism, and transportation, and the forces that promote or constrain movement.

mobility project

the intentional family decisions and plans made regarding mobility, as opposed to involuntary movements forced by particular needs.

mobility regime

refers to the specific ways in which movements of people are organized in a hierarchical way, privileging some movements over others.

Mommy Wars

the idea that choices that women make in their roles as mothers line them up on opposing sides of a battlefield.


when money enters areas of a society where it has previously played a minor role.


early modern empire in South Asia founded in 1526 that spanned two centuries.

multilevel marketing

a hierarchical business model in which salespeople earn not only what they sell but also a percentage of the sales made by those at levels lower than their own.

naturalized citizens

In the current Nepali context, naturalized citizenship is the limited category of citizenship. It is available to people who cannot prove that their fathers were Nepali citizens but have some other family relationship with a Nepali citizen (e.g., their mothers or husbands are Nepali citizens).


characterized by free-market trade, deregulation of financial markets, privatization, and limited welfare and social services for populations.

nikah halala

a patriarchal practice whereby women divorced through triple talaq must consummate a second marriage and get divorced again in order to remarry their first husbands.

nonbinary family network

kinship pattern for those who identify on the gender spectrum outside the male-female binary.

nonlabel sexuality

a nonidentity; can include people who are uncertain about their sexuality, are sexually fluid, or are resistant to the norms of identity labels.


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an intergovernmental economic organization with thirty-six member countries. Members are developed countries with thriving economies.

Palermo protocols

a group of three international treaties adopted by the United Nations to supplement the 2000 Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Exploitation. One of these protocols described the crime of human trafficking as “the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation” (United Nations 2004, iii).

participant observation

A research methodology used in cultural anthropology. It consists of a type of observation in which the anthropologist observes while participating in the same activities in which her informants are engaged.

patriarchal (patriarchy)

Patriarchy describes a society with a male-dominated political and authority structure and an ideology that privileges males over females in domestic and public spheres.


groups of related males (e.g., a father, his brothers) and their male offspring form the core of the family and constitute the family’s most central and enduring social and emotional ties.


societies where descent or kinship group membership is transmitted through men, from men to their children (male and female), and then through sons, to their children, and so forth.


A practice in which married couples share a household with or nearby the husbands’ family

phenomenological approach

a qualitative research approach focusing on structures of experiences. It recognizes the socially constructed nature of experiences and sees them as interconnected and subjective.


the time before the Cuban revolution in 1959.

productive work

human activities that produce goods or services with an exchange value, usually associated with the public spheres.


a practice in certain Muslim and Hindu societies of physical segregation of men and women and the requirement that women cover their bodies in enveloping clothing to conceal their form from men and strangers.


one of twenty-two Indigenous groups in Guatemala that trace descent from the ancient Maya civilization and who speak a Mayan language.


the festivities that mark a girl's fifteenth birthday, including the party, the photoshoot, and other possible events.


a girl celebrating her fifteenth birthday; can also refer to the festivities or to the party connected with a girl’s fifteenth birthday.


the process of ascribing a racial identity and associated traits to a group. These characteristics are often defined by a dominant group with the aim of discriminating against and excluding the subordinate group.


critically examining one’s own assumptions, motivations, power, conceptualizations, and practices in the research process.


surrounded by relationships, differing from an individualist emphasis on personal autonomy.


money or goods sent by migrants back to family and friends in their home country.

reproductive work

human activities that sustain the biological and social (re)production of the workforce. The term encompasses all the tasks needed to guarantee the survival, care, and material and emotional well-being of the members of a group, family, or society.

second shift

the time parents spent on household and child-rearing tasks after the paid work has ended.

second-wave feminism

1960s–1980s addressed issues of equal legal and social rights for women. Its emblematic slogan was “the personal is political.”


Refers to the biological variation among bodies based on chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and genitals. Bodies may fit typical definitions of ‘male’ or ‘female’ or may be intersex, presenting biological variations of sex characteristics.

sexual division of labor

delegation or assignment of different tasks to males and females within a group, family, or society

social citizenship

rights, expectations, and obligations that are associated with efforts to ensure well-being and equality of opportunities.

social role

the expected behaviors of a person who holds a known status.

structural violence

the systematic ways in which social structures harm or disadvantage individuals and thus create and maintain social inequalities.


a person from a colonized population who is of low socioeconomic status, displaced to the margins of a society and with little social agency.

survival sex work

the practice of people who are extremely disadvantaged trading sex for basic necessities; usually denotes those who would not otherwise choose to work in the sex industry if they could.

third gender

Gender identifications beyond the binary identifications of man or woman.

third-wave feminism

began in the 1990s responding to the shortcomings of the Second Wave, namely that it focused on the experiences of upper-middle-class white women. Third Wave feminism is rooted in the idea of women’s lives as intersectional, highlighting how race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, and nationality are all significant factors when discussing feminism.

toxic masculinity

tends to be characterized by qualities such as a competitive nature, physical strength, emotional suppression, rejection of femininity, risk taking, and violence.


Individuals who identify with a gender not assigned to them at birth.

triple talaq

a form of Islamist divorce used by some Muslims in India that permits a man to legally divorce his wife by simply uttering the word talaq (the Arabic word for “divorce”) three times orally, in written form or, more recently, in electronic form.


a Native American term referring to individuals who combined gendered activities of both men, giving them a unique status. They were considered neither men nor women but were seen as a distinct, alternative third gender.

virtual community

a social network of people interacting using technology to pursue shared interests and goals that cross boundaries of geography, time, and politics.

world systems theory

Developed by Emmanuel Wallerstein to describe a global capitalist system that separates countries into the core (the North), semiperiphery, and periphery (the South) based primarily on their economic participation.


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