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Title: Is home where the heart is? : landscape, materiality and aesthetics in Tibetan exile
Author: Clark, Imogen Rose
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 5438
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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In 2000, Tim Ingold argued: 'people do not import their ideas, plans or mental representations into the world, since that very world ... is the homeland of their thoughts. Only because they already dwell therein can they think the thoughts they do' (2000: 186). He thus stressed the importance of place in the construction and reproduction of culture. How does this play out, however, among refugees who by virtue of their displacement must 'import' cultural concepts into alien environments? For those outside a 'homeland' how do they make sense of the world? In this thesis I examine the relationship between Tibetan refugees, the landscapes of their exile and their wider material environment. Drawing on theory in material anthropology and thirteen months' ethnographic fieldwork conducted in two contrasting Tibetan refugee settlements in northwest India, I analyse how Tibetan refugees are affected by, and in turn exert agency over their material world. Through this discussion, I reflect on the multiple and mutable meanings of home for Tibetan refugees, many of whom were born and/or raised in India. Few scholarly discussions of home encompass both its affective and imaginary dimensions; this thesis achieves this by focusing on the material and aesthetic aspects of home. Through this lens, I explore how refugees both work hard to develop a sense of home in exile, yet simultaneously destabilise this by orienting themselves towards an imagined home in a future 'free Tibet'. The discussion unfolds thematically, through chapters focusing on several material categories: landscape, the built environment, dress and objects. I develop my analysis via existing theoretical literature in material anthropology and its sub-disciplines, transnational and migration studies, and area-specialist literature in Tibetology.
Supervisor: Harris, Clare Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Refugees ; Tibetan--India ; Material culture--Social aspects ; Tibetans--Ethnic identity ; Home