The Politics of Refugees in South Asia: Identity, Resistance, Manipulation, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Politics of Refugees in South Asia

Identity, Resistance, Manipulation, 1st Edition

By Navine Murshid


176 pages

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Partition and post-colonial migrations – sometimes voluntary, often forced – have created borders in South Asia that serve to oppress rather than protect. Migrants and refugees feel their real home lies beyond the border, and liberation struggles continue the quest for freedoms that have proven to be elusive for many. States scapegoat refugees as "outsiders" for their own ends, justifying the denial of their rights, while academic discourse on refugees represents them either as victims or as terrorists. Taking a stance against such projections, this book examines refugees’ struggles for better living conditions and against marginalization.

By analyzing protest and militarization among refugees, the book argues that they are neither victims without agency nor war entrepreneurs. Through interviews, surveys, and statistical analyses, it shows how states have manipulated refugee identity and resistance to promote the ideal of the nation-state, thereby creating protracted refugee crises. This is evident even in the most humanitarian state intervention in modern South Asia – India’s military intervention in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971.

The findings put forward provide the basis to understand the conditions under which violence can break out, and thereby have implications for host countries, donor countries, and aid organizations in the formulation of refugee‐policy. The book is of interest to scholars in the fields of South Asian studies, comparative politics, international relations, refugee studies, development studies, security studies and peace studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Refugee Voices 3. Contentious Politics and Refugee Protests 4. Camp Militarization for State Interests 5. Strategic Manipulation of Refugees 6. India’s Military Intervention in Bangladesh, 1971 7. Conclusion

About the Author

Navine Murshid is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Colgate University, USA. Her research interests include South Asian politics, international political economy, civil wars, economic development, refugee and minority politics.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in South Asian Studies

South Asia, with its burgeoning, ethnically diverse population, soaring economies, and nuclear weapons, is an increasingly important region in the global context. The series, which builds on this complex, dynamic and volatile area, features innovative and original research on the region as a whole or on the countries. Its scope extends to scholarly works drawing on history, politics, development studies, sociology and economics of individual countries from the region as well those that take an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the area as a whole or to a comparison of two or more countries from this region. In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the insights germane to area studies, as well as the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods. The series welcomes submissions from established authors in the field as well as from young authors who have recently completed their doctoral dissertations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General