Fragile identities: Belonging and Self-identification Processes in the context of Majority-Minority Relations (by Dr. Carole Faucher)

Date: 22 July 2011
PDF version
Location: Aga Khan Humanities Project (AKHP), Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Drawing from her 15 years of research in Southeast Asia, Carole Faucher will explore some theoretical inquiries pertaining to the anthropological concept of ‘feeling of belonging’ to a political community. Through the interaction between the nation-state and the common people who are connected to it through different means such as citizenship, migration or territory claim, solidarity communities are formed. These solidarity communities can be deeply entrenched in the state politics or drastically opposed to it, however, in most cases they are infused with ethno-cultural elements. Nationalist ideology, cultural revival, naming of groups and territory, collective memory, top-down ethnic designs and popular representation are all part of the process. Even trans-boundary ethnic solidarity movements are dependent upon the ethno-cultural frameworks that have developed inside each state's boundaries over time and through political means. Modes of ethnic or national identification signal allegiances to specific political communities, which in turn are connected to a set of power relations and definite patterns of social hierarchy. Such choices over identity are often shaped by governmental policies that provide the framework for power relations between communities within a country. Identities are in this respect much more fragile and can be more unstable than they appear externally.

Carole Faucher is currently Associate Professor at the Doctoral Program in International Public Policies at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. She obtained a PhD in Sociology from the National University of Singapore and a MSc in Anthropology from the Université de Montréal. Her publications include “Capturing Otherness: Self-identity and Feelings of Non-Belonging among Educated Burmese in Thailand” in Politics and Identity: Negotiating Power and Space in Asia, Faucher, C. and Gomez, J., (guest editors) Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, 2010; Popular discourse on identity politics and decentralisation in Tanjung Pinang public schools, Asia Pacific View Point, 2006 and “Contesting Boundaries in the Riau Archipelago” in Renegotiating Boundaries: Local Politics in Post-Soehartro Indonesia, Nordholt, S.H., Van Klinken G. (eds). KITLV, Leiden, 2007. She has recently developed strong research interests in the Ismaili approach to identity and development, particularily in the context of Badakhshan populations.

The presentation will be conducted in English. Russian translation will be provided upon prior request.

University of Central Asia, 47a Druzhba Narodov, Dushanbe, Room 101.

Please RSVP to with your name and affiliation. Please indicate if you require Russian translation.

* The views presented in this lecture are those of the presenter and not necessarily those of the University of Central Asia or any of its staff.

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