Re-territorialisation of persecuted identity: Sikh refugee contribution towards ethno-national conflict in Indian Punjab
It has been said that ethno-national identity, despite being ‘psychological’ in constitution, is territorialised in place. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to conceive of any identity, particularly one that is ethno-national in variety, which does not contain a strong territorial underpinning. Yet refugees that are driven out from their homeland on account of their ethno-national identity are typically considered to constitute a de-territorialised group. Halting the analysis there, however, is problematic, since refugees do not necessarily lose a sense of ethno-national identity consciousness on account of being de-territorialised. Nor would it be sensible to assume that ethno-national identity can persist without a territorial basis. Rather what this paper contends is that de-territorialised refugees, upon arrival into their host societies, endeavour to ‘re-territorialise’ their persecuted identity and that such a process will likely prompt the rise of ethno-national conflict. This claim will be demonstrated with reference to the Sikhs of Punjab.
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