This book presents the first comprehensive anthropological account of premodern Tibetan pastoral economy and social organization in the Kham region of eastern Tibet. It offers a uniquely fine-grained descriptive portrait of traditional Tibetan rural life among nomads in the kingdom of Dege. Based upon extensive ethnographic interviews, this study yields a nuanced analysis of the most crucial and controversial relationship in premodern Tibetan societies, namely, that ensuing between local lords and their dependents. It convincingly readdresses anthropological debates and political claims about feudalism or serfdom in Tibetan societies from a perspective that is more sensitive to local historical, social, and economic contexts.
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