Jellyfishing in the Postcolonial Nation-State: Baltistan Through the Zomia Lens

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The Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 divided the western Himalayan region of Baltistan in two parts. Being subject to internal colonization and nation-making by the two postcolonial nation-states, the Balti community, like many other communities in the Himalayan region, has recently voiced demands of self-rule and experienced a cultural revival. The situation in Baltistan is here seen through a Zomia lens, focusing on what Scott (2009) terms “jellyfish” strategies of the community’s history, language, and culture to avoid being governed. This strategy allows for the community’s escape from their rulers into a new, “virtual friction of terrain” in the form of ICT and the Internet. It is pointed out that South Asian minority communities like the Balti often find themselves suspended between demands of self-rule and a politics of development where they compete over access to the resources of the nation-state. A preliminary history of connectivity in Baltistan is also included.
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)57-91
JournalAsian Ethnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 14

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work

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