The Rohingya Diaspora: A Narrative Inquiry into Identity
Abstract views: 386 / PDF downloads: 163
Keywords:Rohingya, Refugees, Diaspora, Cultural Identity
This study examined the key experiences and aspects of the life of Rohingya diaspora youth through exploratory Narrative Inquiry. Three semi-structured interviews were held with six participants from the Rohingya community in Malaysia. Responses were analyzed and categorized into three broad sections based on Cultural Historical Activity Theory: environmental impacts on lived experience, the diversity of sociocultural origin within the Rohingya community, and the impact of historical processes on cultural change. It was noted that the Rohingya culture is rich with diverse experiences and origins far beyond its current circumstances. Rohingya youth identify strongly with their experiences of life in Arakan and note that the younger generations missing this experience are less connected with their Rohingya identity. Beyond that, much of the threat to self-perception within the community came from external reductive narratives based only on their plight. In order to establish a constructive framework to support the Rohingya people, it is therefore critical to better understand them as a culture beyond their hardships.
Abdulbakieva, M. (2020). ‘Uyghur’ or ‘Muslim’? Identity development among Uyghur diasporas: A case study of Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe JEMIE, 19(1), 6–31.
Akrim, A., Rudianto, R., & Adhani, A. (2021). Interactive effects of stoicism and religious coping on psychological distress, fatigue and intercultural communication: Muslim health workers in Bali. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(4), 214–237. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/920 DOI: https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/920
Ansar, A., & Khaled, M. A. F. (2021). From solidarity to resistance: Host communities’ evolving response to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Journal of International Humanitarian Action, 6(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-021-00104-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-021-00104-9
Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (1976). Treaty of amity and cooperation in Southeast Asia. https://asean.org/our-communities/asean-political-security-community/outward-looking-community/treaty-of-amity-and-cooperation-in-southeast-asia-tac/
Bakali, N., & Wasty, S. (2020). Identity, social mobility, and trauma: Post-conflict educational realities for survivors of the Rohingya genocide. Religions, 11(5), Article 241. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050241 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11050241
Bhatia, A., Mahmud, A., Fuller, A., Shin, R., Rahman, A., Shatil, T., Sultana, M., Morshed, K. A. M., Leaning, J., & Balsari, S. (2018). The Rohingya in Cox’s bazar: When the stateless seek refuge. Health and Human Rights, 20(2), 105–122.
Bishop, S. C. (2021). Intercultural communication, the influence of trauma, and the pursuit of asylum in the United States. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(2), 187–208. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/667 DOI: https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/667
Brown, T. M. (2018). Building resilience: The emergence of refugee-led education initiatives in Indonesia to address service gaps faced in protracted transit. Österreichische Zeitschrift Für Südostasienwissenschaften, 11(2), 165–181. https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0001
Cabi, M. C. (2019). The last mufti of Iranian Kurdistan and its revision of Kurdish history. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 6(3), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/218 DOI: https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/218
Caine, V., Clandinin, J., & Lessard, S. (2021). Considering response communities: spaces of appearance in narrative inquiry. Qualitative Inquiry, 27(6), 661–666. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800420948105 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800420948105
Carpeño, E. R., & Feldman, H. I. (2015). Childhood and education in Thailand-Burma/Myanmar border refugees camps. Global Studies of Childhood, 5(4), 414–424. https://doi.org/10.1177/2043610615612951 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2043610615612951
Chan, A. (2005). The development of a Muslim enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) state of Burma (Myanmar). SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, 3(2), 396–420.
Cheesman, N. (2017). How in Myanmar “national races” came to surpass citizenship and exclude Rohingya. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 47(3), 461–483. https://doi.org/10.1080/00472336.2017.1297476 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00472336.2017.1297476
Clandinin, D., & Caine, V. (2008). Narrative inquiry. In L. M. Given (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of qualitative research methods (pp. 542–545). SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412963909.n275 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412963909.n275
Dryden-Peterson, S. (2015). Refugee education in countries of first asylum: breaking open the black box of pre-resettlement experiences. Theory and Research in Education, 14(2), 131–148. https://doi.org/10.1177/1477878515622703 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1477878515622703
Dryden-Peterson, S., Adelman, E., Bellino, M. J., & Chopra, V. (2019). The purposes of refugee education: Policy and practice of including refugees in national education systems. Sociology of Education, 92(4), 346–366. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038040719863054 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038040719863054
Eisenbruch, M. (1991). From post-traumatic stress disorder to cultural bereavement: Diagnosis of Southeast Asian refugees. Social Science & Medicine, 33(6), 673–680. https://doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(91)90021-4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(91)90021-4
Farzana, K. Z., Pero, S. D. M., & Othman, M. F. (2020). The dream’s door: Educational marginalization of Rohingya children in Malaysia. South Asian Journal of Business and Management Cases, 9(2), 237–246. https://doi.org/10.1177/2277977920905819 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2277977920905819
Figueira, R. R. (2021). Indigenous refugees, vulnerability and cultural erosion: International law of indigenous peoples’ and international refugee law’s possibilities and limits in the protection of indigenous cultural expressions related to traditional land and the native language. Revista de Direito Internacional, 17(3), 642–662. https://doi.org/10.5102/rdi.v17i3.7224 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5102/rdi.v17i3.7224
Howe, A. E., & Karazsia, Z. A. (2020). A long way to peace: Identities, genocide, and state preservation in Burma, 1948-2018. Politics, Groups & Identities, 8(4), 677–697. https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2018.1529604 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2018.1529604
Human Rights Watch. (2000, August). Malaysia/Burma: Living in limbo: Background. https://www.hrw.org/reports/2000/malaysia/maybr008-01.htm#P254_42515
Im, H., & Neff, J. (2021). Spiral loss of culture: Cultural trauma and bereavement of Bhutanese refugee elders. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 19(2), 99–113. https://doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2020.1736362 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2020.1736362
Islam, N. (2019). Diasporic identity and transnational belonging: Reflections from supporting mental health services in the Rohingya camps. Intervention, 17(2), 310–315. https://doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_22_19 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_22_19
Islam, N. (2021). Rohingya: A people under endless tyranny. Asian Affairs, an American Review, 48(1), 14–40. https://doi.org/10.1080/00927678.2020.1793631 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00927678.2020.1793631
Jitpiromsri, S., Haque, M. M., & Chambers, P. (2020). Peacebuilding in Thailand’s deep south and in Myanmar/Burma: The dynamic roles of Muslim minorities in conflict societies. Asian Affairs, an American Review, 48(1), 85–110. https://doi.org/10.1080/00927678.2020.1843216 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00927678.2020.1843216
Kanagaratnam, P., Rummens, J. A., & TonerVA, B. (2020). “We are all alive . . . but dead”: Cultural meanings of war trauma in the Tamil diaspora and implications for service delivery. SAGE Open, 10(4), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244020963563 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244020963563
Khaled, A. F. M. (2021). Do no harm in refugee humanitarian aid: The case of the Rohingya humanitarian response. Journal of International Humanitarian Action, 6(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-021-00093-9 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s41018-021-00093-9
Kipgen, N. (2013). Conflict in Rakhine state in Myanmar: Rohingya Muslims’ conundrum. Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 33(2), 298–310. https://doi.org/10.1080/13602004.2013.810117 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13602004.2013.810117
Kiragu, E., Rosi, A. L., & Morris, T. (2011, December). States of denial: A review of UNHCR’s response to the protracted situation of stateless Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service. https://www.unhcr.org/4ee754c19.pdf
Koo, W. Q. (2019). Refugee education in another perspective: The current state in Malaysia and its way forward. The bulletin of the Graduate School, Soka University, 40, 153–167. https://cir.nii.ac.jp/crid/1050845763871159680
MacLaren, D. (2012). Tertiary education for refugees: A case study from the Thai-Burma border. Refuge, 27(2), 103–110. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.34727 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.34727
Mahmood, S. S., Wroe, E., Fuller, A., & Leaning, J. (2016). The Rohingya people of Myanmar: Health, human rights, and identity. The Lancet, 389(10081), 1841–1850. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00646-2 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)00646-2
Mim, N. J. (2020). Religion at the margins: Resistance to secular humanitarianism at the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. Religions, 11(8), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080423 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080423
O’Brien, M., & Hoffstaedter, G. (2020). “There we are nothing, here we are nothing!” The enduring effects of the Rohingya genocide. Social Sciences, 9(11), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9110209 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9110209
Omniglot. (2022, February 21). Rohingya alphabets, pronunciation and language. https://www.omniglot.com/writing/rohingya.htm
Ospina, S. M., & Dodge, J. (2005). It’s about time: catching method up to meaning-the usefulness of narrative inquiry in public administration research. Public Administration Review, 65(2), 143–157. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2005.00440.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2005.00440.x
Prodip, M. (2017). Health and educational status of Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh. Journal of Population and Social Studies, 25, 135–146. https://doi.org/10.25133/JPSSv25n2.005 DOI: https://doi.org/10.25133/JPSSv25n2.005
Quayle, A. F., & Sonn, C. C. (2019). Amplifying the voices of indigenous elders through community arts and narrative inquiry: Stories of oppression, psychosocial suffering, and survival. American Journal of Community Psychology, 64(1-2), 46–58. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12367 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12367
Radio Free Asia. (2021, April 1). Donor nations’ envoys to make first visit to Rohingya island in Bangladesh. https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/visit-04012021165505.html
Rahman, S. A. (2020). Bangladesh begins relocating Rohingya refugees to remote island. Voice of America News / FIND. Federal Information & News Dispatch, LLC.
Rivera, M. (2021). Past and present colonialist practices: Violence in indigenous communities. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(4), 342–346. https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/927 DOI: https://doi.org/10.29333/ejecs/927
Rohingya Language and Preservation Project. (2022). First they targeted our culture and language: Threats to Rohingya language, culture, and identity in Myanmar and Bangladesh. https://usercontent.one/wp/www.rohingyapost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/First-They-Targeted-Our-Culture-and-Language-RLPP-Report.pdf
Rohingya Language Foundation. (2012, July 31). Rohingya Language. https://web.archive.org/web/20120731043647/http://rohingyalanguagefoundation.com/what-is-rohingyalish.htm
Sankaran, L. (2022). Sri Lankan Tamil experiences of the home-land and host-land: The interaction between language and diasporic identity. Language in Society, 51(1), 143–166. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404520000731 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404520000731
Shair, D. I., Akhter, K. S., & Shama, A. (2019). The role of psychosocial support in coping with incidents of gender-based violence among Rohingya refugees. Intervention, 17(2), 238–242. https://doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_16_19 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_16_19
Shakespeare-Finch, J., Schweitzer, R. D., King, J., & Brough, M. (2014). Distress, coping, and posttraumatic growth in refugees from Burma. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 12(3), 311–330. https://doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2013.844876 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15562948.2013.844876
Shaw S. A., Pillai, V., Yang, C., & Saasa, S. (2021). Parenting among Rohingya and Afghan refugee parents residing in Malaysia. Family Relations, 70(2), 514–528. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12518 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12518
Slanina, A. (2014). Living in cultural diaspora: A phenomenological study of cultural loss. [Doctoral dissertation, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Stanton, G. (2017, September 19). Persecution, forced displacement, and genocide of Rohingya, Kachin, Shan, Karen and other minorities. Genocide Watch. https://www.genocidewatch.com/single-post/2017/09/18/persecution-forced-displacement-and-genocide-of-rohingya-kachin-shan-karen-and-other-mino
Stetsenko, A., & Arievitch, I. M. (2004). The self in cultural-historical activity theory. Theory & Psychology, 14(4), 475–503. https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354304044921 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354304044921
Sudheer, N., & Banerjee, D. (2021). The Rohingya refugees: A conceptual framework of their psychosocial adversities, cultural idioms of distress and social suffering. Global Mental Health, 8, Article E46. https://doi.org/10.1017/gmh.2021.43 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/gmh.2021.43
Tay, A. K., Riley, A., Islam, R., Welton-Mitchell, C., Duchesne, B., Waters, V., Varner, A., Moussa, B., Mahmudul Alam, A. N. M., Elshazly, M. A., Silove, D., & Ventevogel, P. (2019). The culture, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Rohingya refugees: A systematic review. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 28(5), 489–494. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796019000192 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796019000192
Thawnghmung, A. M. (2016). The politics of indigeneity in Myanmar: Competing narratives in Rakhine state. Asian Ethnicity, 17(4), 527–547. https://doi.org/10.1080/14631369.2016.1179096 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14631369.2016.1179096
Uddin, A., & Sumi, H. (2019). The story of a Rohingya refugee: Becoming a community psychosocial volunteer. Intervention, 17(2), 296–300. https://doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_46_19 DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/INTV.INTV_46_19
United Nations Development Programme. (2011). Integrated household living conditions survey in Myanmar (2009–2010): Selected poverty relevant indicators. https://themimu.info/sites/themimu.info/files/documents/Indicators_Survey_IHLCA_Selected%20Proverty_MNPED-UNDP_2010.pdf
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (1951). The 1951 refugee convention. https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/1951-refugee-convention.html
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2021a). Global trends: Forced displacement in 2019. https://www.unhcr.org/flagship-reports/globaltrends/globaltrends2019/
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2021b). Rohingya emergency. https://www.unhcr.org/en-my/rohingya-emergency.html
United Nations. (2018, March 6). ‘No other conclusion,’ ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Myanmar continues: Senior UN rights official. UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/03/1004232
Wake, C., & Cheung, T. (2016). Livelihood strategies of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia: ‘We want to live in dignity.’ South Asian Born-Digital NGO Reports Collection Project. Humanitarian Policy Group. https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/57922bbb4.pdf
Ward, L. M., Hill, M. J., Antane, N., Chreim, S., Olsen Harper, A., & Wells, S. (2021). “The land nurtures our spirit”: Understanding the role of the land in Labrador Innu wellbeing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(10), Article 5102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105102 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105102
Yamagata-Lynch, L. C. (2007). Confronting analytical dilemmas for understanding complex human interactions in design-based research from a cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) framework. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 16(4), 451–484. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508400701524777 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10508400701524777
Zakaria N., & Mohamedsha, I. H. (2020). O peace, where art thou? Exploring practical solutions of a lasting peace for Rohingyas in the Rakhine state. The Journal of Defence and Security, 13(2), 23–42.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
By submitting a manuscript to JECS, authors agree to transfer without charge the following rights to JECS upon acceptance of the manuscript: first worldwide publication rights and the right for JECS to grant permissions as JECS editors judge appropriate for the redistribution of the article, its abstract, and its metadata in professional indexing and reference services. Any revenues from such redistribution are used solely to support the continued publication and distribution of articles.