All knotted up…

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As I said to one of the young people I was interviewing for the “South Asia” book project yesterday on skype – I’m going to have to figure out how I am mapping the themes for this book….not only because I am constantly aware that the use of “south Asia” for the “data” set and contexts I write about does one of two things –

1] Once again it uses the umbrella term “south Asia” while several of the actual geographically located ethnographic material and case studies are from “India.” I do not want this to be seen as another move to have “India” be representative of “South Asia” – so I will have to find a way to organize and write to make this clear.

2] As I interview mostly South Asians in diaspora and also map ethnographic journeys and encounters in U.S. and Europe – it is still a socio-political coalition category that is necessary in engaging people from various parts of South Asia who identify as cosmopolitan, liberal and open minded.

National identities are re- placed in diaspora through various other networks and cultural meeting spaces. The linguistic identifications of “Bangladeshi” (which sometimes blurs Bengal from India and Bangladesh – through linguistic cultural commonalities among other things); “Sindhi” and “Punjabi” (likewise blurring Pakistan and India)… and religious identifications (where, for instance, a Hindu Maha Sabha in Norway is actually inhabited and managed mostly by Sri Lankan Tamils ).

I do not think a title sub title change from “South Asia” to “India” would be useful – I’m not sure that all the Hindus in Bergen, for instance, who hail from South Asia would appreciate being called “Indian.”

3] Migration too is complex and not easily mapped in the cases I look at – as I collaborate with possible co-authors on looking at South Asians in Dubai, issues around subaltern use of mobile and smart phones in India, and the migration of care workers and wage laborers from materially underprivileged locations (whether rural or urban) to households in India, the U.S. or the middle east.

In re-organizing the book then I have to consider themes around digitality – redefinitions of access through circuits of  control, affect, algorithm and connection…

So…work , leisure, labor, affect, relationships, connectivity.. remain as themes.





Cover of book possibly - Digital Diasporas 2016

Tentative cover

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