State, Society and Displaced People in South Asia
  Author/Editor: Imtiaz Ahmed, Abhijit Dasgupta, Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff (edited)
Publisher: The University Press Limited
Publish On: 2004
Binding: Hardcover
Produce ID: 9002361
ISBN: 9840517236
Price: BDT 595.00, USD 50.00

About the book

This book deals with the dynamic interactions between states and societies with respect to the displaced people of South Asia. Thirteen authors from different disciplinary backgrounds address various aspects of displacement, which, hitherto, have not received enough attention. Covering in their case studies groups of people originating from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, and Pakistan, who became displaced in the period between 1947 and 2002, the authors analyze matters of society and the relation between the two. Two issues seem to have greatly informed and influenced displacement in South Asia., one is partition and the other is the Non-signatory status of the South Asian states. Both single out the South Asian region as a separate and interesting case, particularly with respect to the issue as to how states provide security and /or contribute to insecurity. In various chapters the authors demonstrate that whereas movement of people can make them displaced populations, it can also help them in finding roots in the place where they seek refuge. The book can also be read as a critique of a number of well known conventions in the literature on cross border displacement in South Asia and emphasizes the importance of understanding displacement at the local level. The various local case studies presented here demonstrate that firstly, displaced people should not be treated as a homogenous group and that the internal differentiation among them has to be taken into account. Secondly, it is important to realize the multiversity of displacement should be studied as a series of moves, in each of which the individual’s personal choice is weighed against the forces of circumstances. Finally, the case studies presented here demonstrate the importance of agency. Indeed, displaced people ought to be understood not as passive victims only but also as active social agents who give shape to a new phase in their lives and develop new living strategies to cope with their new situations.

Imtiaz Ahmed teaches International Relations at the University of Dhaka and is Executive Director, Centre for Alternatives. He is also the Editor of Theoretical Perspectives: A Journal of Social Sciences and Arts. Aside from numerous articles in national and international journals and edited volumes, his publications include State and Foreign Policy: India's Role in South Asia (Delhi: Vikas, 1993); The Efficacy of the Nation State in South Asia: A Post-nationalist Critique (Colombo: ICES, 1998); and The Construction of Diaspora: South Asians Living in Japan (Dhaka: UPL).

Abhijit Dasgupta is Reader in Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. He is the co-editor of ‘Bengal: Communities, Development and States’ (1994) and ‘Development Aid Today’ (1996).

Kathinka Sinha Kerkhoff is Senior Research Fellow at the Asian Development Research Institute in Ranchi. She is the author of ‘Left Behind or Staying Put: Muslims in India and Hindus in Bangladesh after the Partition of British India in 1947’ (forthcoming).