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Die Bedeutung imaginativer Geographien im Kampf um „Gorkhaland“

Miriam Bishokarma

Abstract


Schlagwörter: Strategische Raumbilder, imaginative Geographien, ethnosymbolische Ressourcen, Ethnoscape, Regionalisierung, ethno-regionale Bewegungen, Indien, Darjeeling, Westbengalen

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Imaginative Geographies as Strategies in the Struggle for “Gorkhaland”.

Abstract

In addition to notions that movements for new states in India (and elsewhere) mainly rely on identity- or development-based rhetoric, I argue that geography itself also plays an essential role in struggles over space. Specifi cally, strategic imaginative geographies based on selective presentations of the contested space’s characteristics and history form important elements in the processes through which regions are constructed and through which different actors legitimize their conflicting demands. In conjunction with ethno-national resources, such as shared memories of a rich ethno-history or a “golden age”, belief in ethnic election and the belonging to an “ancestral homeland” create “ethnoscapes” that foster  regional identity while at the same time reproducing the territorial logic of the nation-state in a post-colonial context. I illustrate these processes by focusing on the district of Darjeeling and its adjoining areas of Terai and Dooars in North West Bengal/India where the so called “Gorkhas” are demanding a separate Union state “Gorkhaland”.

Keywords: Strategic imaginative geographies, imaginative geographies, ethno-symbolic resources, ethnoscape, regionalisation, ethno-regional movements, India, Darjeeling, West Bengal


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