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‘May you live with us forever Father!’ Rethinking state and kinship among Bangladeshi long-distance nationalists in London

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Based on ethnographic fieldwork around commemorative events in London and analysis of textual materials used during commemorations, this article explores how long-distance nationalists are involved in Bangladeshi state building practices. I demonstrate how long-distance nationalists, people who identify with Bangladesh and its government as their ancestral homeland, and who seek to influence the state, draw on family histories to narrate national pasts and justify dynastic political hierarchies that characterise Bangladeshi politics. Further, by paying attention to the uses of the idioms of kinship in transnational state practices, the article deconstructs thinking about states as natural entities that can only be studied as part of larger abstract political frameworks removed from peoples’ experiences. Narrating shared pasts are central in creating shared sentiments and form a justification for undertaking Bangladeshi state practices from London. Taken together, the materials presented in this article illustrate the need to take the use of kinship idioms in state apparatuses seriously, because they provide key insights into the ways these apparatuses work within and beyond the borders of the nation-state.

Original languageEnglish
JournalContributions to Indian Sociology
Pages (from-to)259-279
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

    Research areas

  • Bangladesh, Bangladesh War, London, Long-distance nationalism, state

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