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Challenging the state by reproducing its principles. The demand for “Gorkhaland” between regional autonomy and the national belonging


Wenner, Miriam (2013). Challenging the state by reproducing its principles. The demand for “Gorkhaland” between regional autonomy and the national belonging. Asian Ethnology, 72(2):199-220.

Abstract

Contrary to assumptions about the dualist relationship between region and nation, I propose to understand both as simultaneously emerging. An analysis of the rhetoric of the “Gorkhaland” movement that demands a separate union state in India to be carved out of West Bengal demonstrates that although the movement challenges the distribution of power over territory, it does so by using a “pan-Indian grammar,” to borrow Baruah’s terminology. This is reflected in imaginative geographies that endow the demanded territory with meaning and render it an ethno-scape, while at the same time presenting it as a viable part of an imagined Indian nation. The Gorkhas attempt to bridge the gap between the “national” and the “regional” and challenge dominant identity ascriptions. In doing so, they stress their multiple belongings and affiliations. In this process the Indian nation is produced at various levels of society.

Abstract

Contrary to assumptions about the dualist relationship between region and nation, I propose to understand both as simultaneously emerging. An analysis of the rhetoric of the “Gorkhaland” movement that demands a separate union state in India to be carved out of West Bengal demonstrates that although the movement challenges the distribution of power over territory, it does so by using a “pan-Indian grammar,” to borrow Baruah’s terminology. This is reflected in imaginative geographies that endow the demanded territory with meaning and render it an ethno-scape, while at the same time presenting it as a viable part of an imagined Indian nation. The Gorkhas attempt to bridge the gap between the “national” and the “regional” and challenge dominant identity ascriptions. In doing so, they stress their multiple belongings and affiliations. In this process the Indian nation is produced at various levels of society.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:10 Jan 2014 09:47
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:21
Publisher:Nanzan University
ISSN:1882-6865
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/4300
Related URLs:http://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/en/publications/asian-ethnology/listofjournals/ (Publisher)

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