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A nation in exile : Tibetan diaspora and the dynamics of long-distance nationalism.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date06/2003
JournalAsian Ethnicity
Number of pages18
Original languageEnglish


This essay is an attempt to explore the dynamics of Tibetan nationalism in diaspora. I do this from three perspectives. First, I examine the techniques of contemporary nationalist uprisings among displaced communities, and I argue that the nature and character of the nationalism-in-exile is determined to a great extent by the cooperation between the community within Tibet and those outside it. Secondly, I analyse the situation where a displaced community keeps the nationalism agenda alive in isolation. Specifically, I argue that beyond whatever situation may be present in the territory with a contested sovereignty, those in the diaspora always pursue a policy to establish links and ties--both clandestine and open--with their counterparts and work in tandem in order to facilitate their cause. Thirdly, I argue that fears of persecution cannot be a basis to non-engagement with those living in the contested territory: nationalist struggle is very much like a war, and it cannot be fought effectively from outside. In addition, the aspirations of the community concerned is likely to be compromised if those in the diaspora are overwhelmingly concentrated in one host country. Further, although traditional-legal or charismatic leadership is a great uniting factor and crucial to the vision of the diasporic community, excessive dependence on it can significantly alter the course of the nationalist aspiration.