Diaspora identification and long-distance nationalism among Tamil migrants of diverse state origins in the UK

Demelza Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Accounts of Tamil long-distance nationalism have focused on Sri Lankan Tamil migrants. But the UK is also home to Tamils of non-Sri Lankan state origins. While these migrants may be nominally incorporated into a 'Tamil diaspora', they are seldom present in scholarly accounts. Framed by Werbner's (2002) conception of diasporas as 'aesthetic' and 'moral' communities, this article explores whether engagement with a Tamil diaspora and long-distance nationalism is expressed by Tamil migrants of diverse state origins. While migrants identify with an aesthetic community, 'membership' of the moral community is contested between those who hold direct experience of suffering as central to belonging, and those who imagine the boundaries of belonging more fluidly - based upon primordial understandings of essential ethnicity and a narrative of Tamil 'victimhood' that incorporates experiences of being Tamil in Sri Lanka, India and in other sites, despite obvious differences in these experiences. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2547-2563
Number of pages17
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume37
Issue number14
Early online date7 Oct 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • diaspora
  • ethnicity
  • long-distance nationalism
  • migration
  • Tamils
  • transnational politics

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