ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

How do the Kashmiri youth diaspora community engage with conflict? A comparative approach between the UK and Canada.


Connah Leoni - University of Manchester, Politics, Manchester, United Kingdom


30- Creative and social engagement with conflict: a perspective from the South Asian Diaspora


 This paper will explore how the conflict in Kashmir shapes Kashmiri youth diaspora identity politics in the UK and Canada. The youth community that I will focus on (ages 18-25) do not have immediate connections to the conflict as they are of a generation that has not been born in the region, nor physically fled from it. However, the conflict in Kashmir appears to impact on their sense of identity and this is something that requires further investigation. I argue that social networking and media sites have provided a space through which the Kashmiri diaspora youth communities in both the UK and Canada have connected to the conflict. Scholars studying the Kashmiri diaspora community have found that they are either conflict inducing or conflict reducing. However, there is little attention paid to the ways in which such conflicts impact on the identity formation of those living within diaspora communities, particularly the youth community. Therefore, this paper aims to provide a nuanced understanding of this complex relationship between youth diaspora communities, social networking, and conflicts. The comparative approach is novel and will provide insights into global diaspora communities and also examine if some youth diaspora communities have a stronger relationship to their homeland conflict than others. By way of conclusion, this paper seeks to contribute to broader conversations on identity politics, migration, human rights and the rise of social media.