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Displacement Among Sri Lankan Tamil Migrants

The Diasporic Search for Home in the Aftermath of War

  • Establishes a novel, cross-generational connection between concepts of displacement and home in the context of the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war

  • Addresses a gap in the availability of detailed empirical field research on displacement and forced migration, which has been lacking since the end of the war

  • Presents refined insights into ethical considerations and practical understanding of field data collection using narrative research, presenting key theoretical concepts

Part of the book series: Asia in Transition (AT, volume 11)

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About this book

This book focuses on the concept of ‘home’ or ‘place of origin’ (expressed in Tamil as ‘Ur’) and its various dimensions, in turn related to issues of belonging, attachment, detachment, and commonality among the war-affected population in the post-war era of Sri Lanka. Little research has been undertaken on displacement and forced migration since the end of the war, and so this book provides new insight into the intersections between externally and internally displaced people and notions of home in relation to gender, age, caste and class. It excavates the roots of the problem of not being able to return due to combinations of uncertainty, unemployment, and the loss of people and property. The author shows that notions of ‘home’ vary considerably depending on multiple variables, and this is particularly pronounced between the different generations. The book also confronts how the migration from Sri Lanka over the border to India has brought on discernible changes to the lives of women in particular, in transforming their identities in multiple re-invented cultural manifestations, and cultivating a new kind of attachment towards their new homes. Interdisciplinary in tenor, this book will be of interest to scholars in development studies with a focus on South Asia, as well as graduate students and researchers in the fields of migration, conflict studies, Sri Lanka studies, and sociology. It may also have an impact on policymakers owing to its comprehensive, empirically-based analysis of the consequences of the Sri Lankan civil war for Tamils. 


  • Displaced Sri Lankan Tamils
  • Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu
  • Jaffna Tamils in Colombo
  • Home and attachment in Tamil mainland
  • Migration Studies
  • Refugees in Tamil Nadu, India
  • Sociology of Migration
  • South Asian studies

Authors and Affiliations

  • National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

    Diotima Chattoraj

About the author

Diotima Chattoraj is currently working as a research assistant with the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS, in collaboration with NTU and SMU. From September 2018 until August 2020, she worked at the Faculty of Social Sciences (FASS) in Universiti Brunei Darussalam as a researcher, where she was involved in several research projects on skill-mobility in Asia, the Rohingyas, security and migration, gender and migration, the Uyghurs and their homelands, and also on the recent topic of Covid-19 and migration. She completed her PhD at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, where she researched the different kinds of attachments that displaced Sri Lankan Tamils have to their places of origin in the post-war era. Her research interests include migration, development, ethnicity, international relations, and boundary-making. Her academic background is supported by a strong publication record including several articles, book chapters and book reviews in refereed, Scopus-indexed journals. She is an assistant editor for South Asia Research (Sage) and serves as a peer reviewer for a number of refereed journals. She has volunteered with several non-profit organizations including UNICEF in the US, UNWOMEN Singapore, Here With You Migrants Helpline, and the Singapore Red Cross Society.   

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Displacement Among Sri Lankan Tamil Migrants

  • Book Subtitle: The Diasporic Search for Home in the Aftermath of War

  • Authors: Diotima Chattoraj

  • Series Title: Asia in Transition

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Singapore

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2021

  • Series ISSN: 2364-8252

  • Series E-ISSN: 2364-8260

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: VIII, 160

  • Number of Illustrations: 2 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Sociocultural Anthropology, Development Studies