Pain, Pride, and Politics
Social Movement Activism and the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Canada

Amarnath Amarasingam

How Tamils in Canada responded to armed conflict back home in Sri Lanka


"Amarasingam’s impressive, clearly written study provides, at once, a fascinating account of the complex politics of the Sri Lankan Tamil community in Canada and a significant reappraisal of diaspora theory.”
—Mark P. Whitaker, author of Learning Politics from Sivaram: The Life and Death of a Revolutionary Tamil Journalist in Sri Lanka

“Written from the perspective of a critical insider, this engaging book helps us to make sense of the fractious complexity of Tamil diaspora politics since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. Its innovative angle on diaspora as a social movement points to ways of understanding how and why diasporas have become such important players on the global scene.”
—Nicholas Van Hear, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford

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Pain, Pride, and Politics is an examination of diasporic politics based on a case study of Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada, with particular focus on activism between December 2008 and May 2009. Amarnath Amarasingam analyzes the reactions of diasporic Tamils in Canada at a time when the separatist Tamil movement was being crushed by the Sri Lankan armed forces and revises currently accepted analytical frameworks relating to diasporic communities. This book adds to our understanding of a particular diasporic group, while contributing to the theoretical literature in the area.

Throughout, Amarasingam argues that transnational diasporic mobilization is at times determined and driven as much by internal organizational and communal developments as by events in their countries of origin, a phenomenon that has received relatively little attention in the scholarly literature. His work provides an in-depth examination of the ways in which a separatist sociopolitical movement beginning in Sri Lanka is carried forward, altered, and adapted by the diaspora and the struggles that are involved in this process.

Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation

Page count: 248
1 diagram, 8 tables
Trim size: 6 x 9


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Amarnath Amarasingam is the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, professor of religion at Wilfrid Laurier University, and lecturer at the University of Waterloo. He is the editor of The Stewart/Colbert Effect: Essays on the Real Impacts of Fake News and Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal.