Social Science Baha

Lecture Series

Is There Such a Thing as a Nepalese Diaspora? Reflections from India-, Qatar- and Web-based Nepalese Dispersed Communities

Tristan Bruslé
Lecture Series LXX
March 12, 2014

Tristan Bruslé
Is There Such a Thing as a Nepalese Diaspora?
Reflections from India-, Qatar- and Web-based Nepalese Dispersed Communities

This lecture will interrogate the diaspora catchword applied to Nepali populations outside Nepal in the context of the widespread use of the word. If dispersion does not equal diaspora, nor does labour migration. In this context, it will try to understand how ‘etic’ discourses, that the making of a diaspora by outsiders to the group (i.e., researchers, journalists, etc.) is heuristically fruitful. It will also consider an ‘emic’ discourse (i.e., self-nomination by members of the group) to understand the use of the diaspora concept. Issues of diasporic self-consciousness, representation, relations between places and power relations will be dealt with, keeping in mind the heterogeneity and contradictions of a Nepalese diaspora ‘in the making’.

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Tristan Bruslé, a researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, is interested in Nepalese labour migration and diaspora, from a socio-spatial angle. He has done extended fieldwork among workers in India, in Qatar, and on the Nepalese diasporic web. After completing his PhD on the migratory processes and the relations to space of Nepalese temporary workers in India, he widened his research to labour migrations in the Gulf and to Indian communities of Nepali origin. Based on several field trips to Qatar, he is studying how this contract-based migration works and how Nepalese migrants integrate into the Gulf labour market.

He has contributed to several journals, including European Bulletin of Himalayan ResearchSouth Asian Multidisciplinary Academic JournalSocial Science Information, and Forum: Qualitative Social Research, as well as to edited volumes such as Reading Himalayan Landscapes over Time: Environmental Perception, Knowledge and Practice in Nepal and Ladakh (2009) and Migrants des Suds (2009), among others. His latest publications include ‘What Kind of Place Is This? Daily Life, Privacy and the Inmate Metaphor in a Nepalese Workers’ Labour Camp (Qatar)’ in South Asian Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (2012), and ‘Nepalese Diasporic Websites: Signs and Conditions of a Diaspora in the Making?’ in Social Science Information (2012).

(This lecture was organised in collaboration with Martin Chautari.)

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