Framing disputes and organizational legitimation: UK-based Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups’ use of the ‘genocide’ frame since 2009

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Abstract

The ending of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009 led to significant changes in the political strategies pursued by Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups in the UK. One contentious feature of these groups’ campaigns has been their use of the ‘genocide’ frame to describe the actions of the Sri Lankan state, which has been predominantly viewed either as a signal of these groups’ strategic
naivety or as a coded expression of a wider nationalist agenda. In this article I argue that its growing use in the post-war period is more complex and is best understood in relation to these organizations’ strategies of legitimation. Deploying the genocide frame has served two key functions: to demonstrate groups’ responsiveness to popular demands, and to challenge dominant international approaches to post-war Sri Lanka. Together these functions served to bolster groups’ legitimacy in an environment characterized by political change and high levels of inter-organizational competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-975
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Volume38
Issue number6
Early online date17 Sep 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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