The Sri Lankan tamil diaspora: Three tamil family narratives

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Studies of diasporic communities frequently presuppose something called the "diasporic family" in their discussions of diasporic "subjectivity" - a rather surprising thing for frequently post-modern, often professedly ant-essentialist, studies to do. This article tries to perspicuously highlight this will o′ the wisp entity, the diasporic family, by describing three Sri Lankan Tamil diasporic families whose familial dramas collectively span the history of Sri Lanka from independence to the near present. It does so using some of the post-Schneiderian narrative techniques that feminist scholars have developed to deal with the kinds of post-modern families that do not easily fit the static models of classic kinship analysis. Torn by a waning colonialism and Sri Lanka's long civil war, and scattered about multiple continents, these three families would seem to be just such entities. This modest exercise reveals not only the extreme tenacity with which these families remained, come what may, families, but the chaotic tangle of public terrors, private motives, personal strategies, intimate passions, and complete accidents that somehow constituted their continued unity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic Studies Report
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Political Science and International Relations


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