Seger åt Tibet! : den tibetanska diasporan och den religiösa nationen

Åse Piltz

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This dissertation in anthropology of religion focuses on images of Tibet, among Westerners as well as among Tibetans. Based on approximately one year of fieldwork in the former British Hill station, it also deals with the politics of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and some of its political and social implications for the exiled Tibetan youth living in Dharamsala, India.

The Western perception of Tibet has varied considerably over the centuries. Since the 1920s and even more so after the Tibetan exodus in 1959, however, Tibet has to an increasing extent become envisioned as a kind of timeless Shangri-la. This image is often invoked by Westerners as an instrument of cultural critique of Western culture. Among Tibetans, however, this image is mainly used to enforce their claim that the survival of Tibetan culture should be of interest to the rest of the world.

The Dalai Lama and the CTA has during the last decades placed its emphasis on Tibet as a religious nation, living in accordance with contemporary ideals. The shift in emphasis from rangzen (independence) to religion has had the unfortunate effect that what has become of primary interest is how to preserve Tibetan Buddhism, the ?jewel? of Tibetan culture. One problem with this is, of course, that Tibetan Buddhism has managed to survive quite well outside Tibet, a fact effectively undermining the argument that the nation-state needs to be restored for Tibetan culture to survive. Hence the identification of Tibetan Buddhism with Tibetan culture makes the question of the need for a national territory of minor importance.

Many of the Tibetan youth in exile, though, consider their nationalistic strivings more important than the survival of Buddhism as a collective phenomenon. That is, they seemed to be more interested in a truly free Tibet, an independent nation-state, than in the strife to create a Buddhist nation within Chinas borders; contemplating religion and culture, but giving up their political rights. Another consequence dealt with in this thesis is the discrepancy between the image of Tibet and the people belonging to its culture, realized in the meeting between ?new arrivals? and the youth who has lived most part of their life in exile.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
  • Olsson, Tord, Supervisor
Award date2005 Oct 22
Print ISBNs91-22-02135-3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2005-10-22
Time: 13:15
Place: Spoletorp hörsal, Spolegatan 1R, Lund.

External reviewer(s)

Name: Ström, Axel
Title: Försteamanuensis
Affiliation: Oslo


The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: General History and Anthropology of Religions (015017030)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • History of Religions


  • Världsreligioner (ej kristendom)
  • Non-Christian religions
  • Rangzen.
  • Miss Tibet
  • Bod Gyalo
  • Shangri-la
  • Nationalism
  • Diaspora
  • Dalai Lama
  • Government-in-exile
  • Dharamsala
  • Refugees
  • Identity
  • Anthropology of religion
  • Tibet
  • Buddhism
  • Social sciences
  • Samhällsvetenskaper

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