The Price of Belonging: Perspectives from Asia


To belong often involves the performance of burdensome obligations, the sacrifice or suppression of personal desires for the collective good and the demand for demonstrating lifelong loyalty. Belonging may also entail hidden threats, risks and pressures that lurk in the corners of familiarity. These are the key aspects that The Price of Belonging explores in detail by bringing together nine original ethnographic case studies from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. By shedding light on the adverse facets of belonging, the book challenges its overly idealistic depictions and offers a differentiated look at this social practice.

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Dr. Éva Rozália Hölzle is a researcher at the department of Social Anthropology at Bielefeld University. Her most recent monograph is titled Land, Life, and Emotional Landscapes at the Margins of Bangladesh (Amsterdam University Press, 2022).

Prof. Dr. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka is senior professor of Social Anthropology at Bielefeld University. She has recently published the volume Universities as Transformative Social Spaces: Mobilities and Mobilizations from South Asian Perspectives with Andrea Kölbel and Susan Thieme (Oxford University Press, 2022).
Notes on Contributors

1 Price of Belonging—An Introduction
Éva Rozália Hölzle and Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka
2 Suspicion and Belonging among Migrants from India’s Eastern Borderlands
Lucy Dubochet
3 The Dangers of Proximity: On the Pitfalls of Kinship and Friendship in Migratory Practices—the Case of the Nepalese Night-watchmen in Bangalore (India)
Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka
4 The Price of Belonging in a Japanese Sharehouse
Caitlin Meagher
5 Precarious Belonging: Cross-Region Migrant Brides in Northern India
Ravinder Kaur
6 ‘This Is (not) a Love Story’: Negotiating Belonging, Community, and Interethnic Marriages in the Chittagong Hills of Bangladesh
Nasrin Annie Siraj, Ellen Bal and Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff
7 Between Separatism and Integration: Difference as (not) Belonging and Being Hmong in Contemporary Laos
Phill Wilcox
8 ‘We Are Not Family! We Are Just Their Social Workers!’ Belonging and Becoming in Professionalised Care Encounters of Vietnamese Berlin
Anita von Poser
9 Guardians of Togetherness: Becoming and Belonging in a War-Khasi Family at the Bangladesh-Tripura Border
Éva Rozália Hölzle
? 10 What Do We Have to Forgo in Order to Belong? Conceptual Reflections on the Ambivalences of Belonging
Antje Linkenbach
11 Afterword
Shelley Feldman

The book will be of interest for students and scholars of social anthropology, sociology, political science, and Asian studies.
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