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Negotiating Postcolonial Spaces


  • Shereen Sherif


The postcolonial political order in South Asia marked the diffusion of a sense of territoriality and with it the consolidation of a new geographical order. Borders marking the limits of territory—sometimes arbitrarily drawn or carved out—defined the landscape of states and became rigid markers of the identity of nations. Along with challenges to the legitimizing narratives of national identity and nation making, the absolutist notion of territoriality also underwent changes in postcolonial state construction. The constructed geography of the state has been challenged by indigenous communities which, by negotiating borders, constantly deconstruct them. The fishing community along the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka exhibit the process of negotiating such postcolonial spaces by straying across designated borders. The history of Kachchativu reveals the complexity created by close, undefined borders: interstate connectedness and disjuncture between members of a community that share history and resources across the border.

Suggested Citation

  • Shereen Sherif, 2013. "Negotiating Postcolonial Spaces," International Studies, , vol. 50(1-2), pages 145-164, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:intstu:v:50:y:2013:i:1-2:p:145-164

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