Identity, Belonging and Political Activism in The Sri Lankan Communities in Germany

PhD Thesis

Told, Michaela R. 2014. Identity, Belonging and Political Activism in The Sri Lankan Communities in Germany. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Social Sciences
AuthorsTold, Michaela R.
TypePhD Thesis

This research examines the dynamic relationship of Sinhalese and Tamils living in Germany in regards to their home and host country, and seeks to better understand the complexities of their political involvement. The research is based on qualitative research methodologies. The author conducted 30
interviews in Berlin during the period 2006–2008 to inform this research.
The research not only provides an overview of the historical contexts of Sri
Lanka and Germany, it also links these histories with the processes of outmigration from Sri Lanka and in-migration to Germany. It then continues to
analyse the construction of belonging in the context of the Sri Lankan diaspora
communities in Berlin. The research examines how far concepts of home,
citizenship, nationalism and identity construction shape the sense of belonging of first and second generation Sinhalese and Tamils in Berlin. Finally, it analyses the ways the members of the Sri Lankan diaspora communities engage in economic, political, social, cultural and virtual activities in the home and host country, and how far these activities shape belonging and are politically motivated. The research also considers and studies the gendered nature of belonging and transnational political practices.

The research uniquely combines the study of the Tamil diaspora with the study
of the Sinhalese diaspora in Berlin. It allows new insights into the complex and
multiple constructions of belonging and identity and into the interplay of gender, ethnicity and generations, and it highlights the importance of political activism in the conceptualization of belonging.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Feb 2015
Publisher's version
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