WP253 ‘Homeland’ and ‘host-land’ identifications in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora



Emphasising the need to go beyond purely spatial conceptualisations, this paper investigates the ways in which patterns of mobility among Sri Lankan Tamils (SLTs) interact with diasporic identifications with the ‘homeland’ and ‘host-land’. SLT migration has been driven by war for over twenty-six years, leading to the formation of a substantial diaspora of around one million people (Orjuela 2012; Venugopal 2006; David, 2012:377). Issues of resettlement, relocation and dislocation-i.e. questions of space-feature powerfully in the lives of SLTs and many have experienced formidable challenges in their countries of resettlement , involving relocation to multiple new homes and the redefinition of their identities in new host-lands. To probe what ‘homeland’ and ‘host-land’ mean in this experience, the paper draws both on theoretical models of diasporic identity and ethnographic data.