From jokes to semi-official parenting interventions: an agenda of universal respect in the diaspora of Tibetan refugees
(University of St Andrews)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores specific parenting intervention in well-established Tibetan diaspora. An agenda of universal respect in Tibetan schools in exile and resistance towards it reveal integration as an intra-societal phenomenon, resting on power relations, ideologies, infrastructure and lived history.
Paper long abstract:
This paper provides an ethnographic account and analysis of a specific parenting intervention that has in recent years been implemented by Tibetan diasporic schools in India. The agenda of universal respect propagating among parents, foster parents, teachers and students of Tibetan schools in exile - manifested through generalized use of honorific language, and resting on folk philosophical concepts of 'good' vs 'bad' behavior, conduct and the ways in which ethical conduct can be induced through speech and body practices - and the resistance expressed towards it by a portion of Tibetan exilic society reveal a complex set of power relations at play in a contemporary well-established diaspora. Its unique characteristics, i.e. geographical concentration and well-documented history of more than fifty years of exile, provide insight into the processes at play in mature diasporic groups, where disparate ethical considerations, previously dealt with within the private sphere through social commentary (e.g. jokes using ethnic differences in language use, politeness rules etc.), have shifted towards the public sphere of semi-official pedagogic intervention in Tibetan exilic boarding schools. This paper aims to shed new light on the conference theme aspects of new diaspora networks and 'integration' as a process directed not only outwards, towards the host society, but also inwards, as an intra-societal phenomenon, resting on power relations, ideologies, infrastructure and lived history.
Pedagogies on the move: parenting interventions in transcultural and minoritarian contexts