Constraining Tamil Transnational Political Action: Security Governance Practices beyond the Sending State

Catherine Ruth Craven

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This paper examines the security governance of the Tamil diaspora through a practice lens. It takes as its starting point the observation that the Tamil diaspora community has historically been subjected to complex and multi-scalar security governance. How this continues after the end of the Sri Lankan civil war period remains empirically and theoretically underexamined, with studies focusing instead on Tamil diaspora organizing. This paper addresses this gap by mapping and theorizing contemporary constraints to Tamil transnational political action (TPA), building on the growing literature on the transnational repression of diaspora. Further, it proposes to move beyond the state-centrism and liberal bias inherent in this literature, by centering security governance practices. Based on a review of existing literature and historical and ethnographic data collected through mixed-method fieldwork among the Tamil diaspora community between 2015 and 2018, this paper concludes that key security governance practices that constrain Tamil TPA, such as proscription, counterterrorism policing, and formal diplomatic practices, have continued since the end of the civil war, each revealing complex global security entanglements beyond the diaspora sending state.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberogac023
JournalJournal of Global Security Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022


  • diaspora
  • transnational repression
  • security governance
  • practice theory
  • transnationalism
  • social movements


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