This study of the Tamil diaspora is one of the first full ethnographic studies of a postcolonial migrant community, and a major contribution to the study of migration, globalisation, identity politics and `long distance' nationalism from an anthropological perspective.Fuglerud's study traces the history of Tamil migration, from the arrival of the economic migrants of the 1960s to the `asylum seekers' of the mid 1980s onwards. He draws unnerving parallels between the status of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, as a beleaguered and persecuted minority waging a war of liberation, and as a displaced, marginalised and excluded refugee community. Fuglerud argues that, in the process of displacement, particular aspects of Tamil culture - marriage, dowry, chastity and ritual - acquire a heightened significance. He examines the contradictions and inconsistencies which characterise the Tamil refugee communities, and the success of revolutionary Tamil nationalism in exile, highlighting the transnational nature of identity politics.
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Colette Harris is a researcher specialising in gender and development, with particular interests in family relations, sexuality and domestic violence. She is currently program director, women in international development at the Office of International Research, Education and Development of Virginia Tech University in the States.Review:
'One of the very best refugee studies to date' -- E. Valentine Daniel, Professor of Anthropology, and Director, Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University
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