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Politics of Identities and Resources in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: Ethnonationalism and/or Indigenous Identity

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In recent years, representation of indigenous communities and their relation to resources has been highly contested. Rather than offering critique to the representation of indigenous communities, this paper examines Jumma and indigenous identity formation among the hill peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, their historical contingency and dynamics. I show that groups' identities are products of agencies emerging from a particular pattern of struggle between the group and other political forces of their given circumstance, and are informed by their particular history, place and practices. I also show that claims over resources based on indigenous identity is a recent positioning in comparison to claims based on Jumma identity. Difference and convergence between Jumma and indigenous identities are contingent upon specific historical contexts and groups' relation with the state and its legal provision, and ideological settings.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Shah Jalal University of Science and Technology & PhD candidate, Department of Social Anthropology, York University


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