International Politics
  1. From the Diasporisation to the Transnationalisation of Exile Politics – The Case of Sri Lanka, 1983-2016
International Politics

From the Diasporisation to the Transnationalisation of Exile Politics – The Case of Sri Lanka, 1983-2016

Dr McDowell's Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) funded research project focuses on the role and significance of politics among diaspora Tamils, specifically the side-lining of pro-LTTE organisations in the post-2009 period, the fracturing of international separatist networks, and the rise of moderate politics.

The research analyses and draw out the wider significance of the post-2009 transnationalisation of Sri Lankan Tamil Eelamist politics and what this process reveals about the battle between ‘hard-liners’ (those who continued to support the LTTE’s aims and methods towards achieving a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka) and the ‘moderates’ (largely maintaining support for separatism while rejecting the LTTE’s methods and increasingly focused on the issue of accountability for violations of international human rights law).

The focus on the development of post-conflict diaspora politics towards transnationalism enables the research to reconsider the 1983-2009 period of civil war to better understand what was happening in diaspora politics during the years of LTTE domination. This will include a detailed understanding of its political tactics, fundraising, propaganda, mobilisation, the role of leaders and the influence of national diaspora populations on political orientation and organisation. Through reviews of existing literature, interviews with Tamil politicians, diaspora organisations and government agencies in the UK, Germany and Canada, the research addresses the significance of the organisational divisions that emerged in the immediate post-conflict period and important social changes within diaspora communities that helped to reshape politics.

While focusing on the case of Sri Lanka, the project has wider implications to the transnationalisation of conflict-related diaspora politics, particularly in conflicts with large refugee and asylum cross-border flows.

Subject: Diaspora Politics

Academic: Dr Christopher McDowell