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Title:The long way home: a critical ethnography of youth and conflict in northeast India
Author(s):Dutta, Urmitapa
Director of Research:Aber, Mark S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Aber, Mark S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Miller, Peggy J.; Rappaport, Julian; Denzin, Norman K.; Lugo, Alejandro
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Ethnic violence
Northeast India
participatory action research
Abstract:This dissertation is a critical ethnographic investigation of the struggles over cultural representations and their relationship to varied expressions of ethnic violence in Northeast India (South Asia). Taking Garo Hills region of Northeast India as the site of inquiry, this dissertation interrogates the culture of normalized everyday violence and it reconfigures identities and subjectivities of local youth. Second, it explores sites of resistance and everyday peace building possibilities in an effort to address endemic ethnic violence in Garo Hills. Advancing an ethical approach to engaging marginalized populations, the dissertation traces the ways in which young people in Garo Hills are complicit in and/or endure everyday violence, and how they articulate their analysis of violence. The ethnographic findings elucidate the complex interplay of violence and marginality in normative spaces in the everyday lives of youth in Garo Hills. The findings suggest that despite the ubiquity of divisive ethnic meta-narratives, multiple counter-narrative possibilities are embedded in youth articulations of violence. Building on those possibilities, a community engagement project was facilitated with local youth using a youth participatory action research framework. By involving local youth from different ethnic groups, the project attempted to create a context of inclusive participation with the goal of examining how young people engage and potentially renegotiate their sense of identity and community in such contexts. This dissertation details how the youth-led community engagement project subverted established patterns of marginality, social exclusion and segregation in the local community; thus substantiating the need for settings and processes that engender integrative ties across ethnic groups in the local community. Arguing against State-sponsored identity categories, this dissertation establishes the need for alternative, more inclusive forms of citizenship and belonging as they pertain to people living in Northeast India.
Issue Date:2012-06-27
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Urmitapa Dutta
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-06-28
Date Deposited:2012-05

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