IIAS Lunch Lecture

Becoming a Tiger, forever: Body, Emotions, and Identity in the narratives of Tamil Fighters Exiled in France

While a great deal of scholarly interest has been spent on the nationalist politics of the Tamil Tigers (LTTE), very few scholars have tried to understand the emic meaning of being a Tiger fighter. How did one become a LTTE fighter? During their exile how do the former fighters remember their time in the movement? Giacomo Mantovan will discuss how boys and girls were transformed by LTTE into soldiers who dedicated their lives to the struggle for independence. This research is based on a long-term ethnography (2008 – 2017) among the Sri Lankan Tamil community in Paris. It will show how camaraderie and identity are constructed through discipline during military training and combat, and how these experiences have a profound effect on the body and emotions of the recruits.

Giacomo Mantovan is an affiliated fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies. He holds a PhD in social anthropology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Mantovan works on the anthropology of violence, memory, migration and Sri Lanka. His thesis focuses on the life stories of Sri Lankan Tamils exiled in France, primarily LTTE former fighters and asylum seekers.

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About IIAS Lunch Lectures

Every month, an IIAS researcher or visiting scholar will present his or her work-in-progress in an informal setting to colleagues and other interested attendees. IIAS organises these lunch lectures to give the research community the opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas.