Title of the Doctoral project: "Role of the Tamil Diaspora in Germany in Development Processes in Jaffna, Sri Lanka"
Abstract of the Doctoral project
The project examines the negotiation of ideas of "development" or "desirable future" between Tamils in Jaffna (Sri Lanka) and second-generation Tamils living in Germany. The 26 years of civil war in Sri Lanka have left their mark not only on the infrastructure but also on society. Despite a multitude of analyses on possible fields of action to address these traces, where development should take place, the perspectives and priorities of Tamil society have hardly been explored so far.
Diaspora actors can play a complex role in implementing 'development' in Jaffna for its people: As they have knowledge, language, resources, norms and networks of two societies at their disposal, actors have different possibilities to influence development processes. Besides intended effects, there are always unintended consequences, not least because parts of the diaspora claim to be able to speak for all members of the very heterogeneous community. Therefore, one aim of the project is to capture the diversity of the Tamil community, in Sri Lanka and Germany, including their narratives, goals, resources, activities and strategies regarding a "desirable life" in social, economic and political terms.
The central research questions focus on the different conceptions of a desirable life and the factors contributing to it as well as the resulting attitudes and actions of Tamils in Sri Lanka. What role does the second diaspora generation in Germany play in achieving these visions and what do the concrete negotiation processes look like? How do Tamils in Sri Lanka use the fact of having access to the diaspora to lead a "life worth living"? The qualitative approach of interface analysis is suitable for tracing the negotiation processes. The project aims to contribute to the fields of development research, especially the "diaspora-development nexus", the intersection of translocal societies and the internet, and migration research on the field of the "Tamil diaspora", focusing in each case on "ideas of development".
In an increasingly globalised world, Tamil society is an example of how transnational societies can look and act. The study can offer implications for other diasporic communities and actors in development cooperation.
Approach and milestones of the project:
The data will be collected in one field research phase each in Germany and in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
Since 05/2021: Dissertation at the University of Applied Sciences Fulda, research focus: Sociology of development, transnational migration, diaspora, empowerment, Regional focus: Sri Lanka
10/2016-09/2020: Master's degree in Human Geography. Spatial Conflicts - Spatial Planning - Spatial Development at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University in Münster
10/2012-09/2016: Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences at the University of Cologne, focus: Political Science and Economics
Doctoral project: 05/2021 - 04/2024