SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Hutt, Michael (2003) Unbecoming Citizens: Culture, Nationhood, and the Flight of Refugees from Bhutan. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Full text not available from this repository.


This book recounts the plight of some hundred thousand refugees of Nepali ethnic origin (also known as the Lhotshampa or ‘Southern Borderlander’) who claim to have been wrongfully evicted from Bhutan. None of them have returned to Bhutan after their eviction in the early 1990s. The author begins his examination of their plight by discussing the history of Bhutan as it appears in British colonial archives and in current standard national narratives. He then discusses the history of Bhutan from the point of view of ‘Bhutanese’ refugees (housed in camps in Nepal) presented to him as a foreign researcher. After reviewing Lhotshampa society in Bhutan during the first half of the twentieth century, the book presents the encounter between the culturally Nepali southern part of Bhutan and the Bhutanese state. In its drive towards modernization and development after Indian independence and the Chinese invasion of Tibet, new legislation on citizenships and a homogenizing nationalism lead to Lhotshampa dissidence and the ‘demotion’ of the Nepali in Bhutan. The book then elaborates how the Lhotshampa became refugees, and why they continue to live in camps in Nepal even at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Item Type: Authored Books
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
ISBN: 9780195670608
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 29 May 2008 14:44

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item