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|Number of Pages||377 Pages|
Political change through the ages has created refugees: groups of people who, because of the conjunction of some element of their identity and shifts in power relationships are uprooted from their native place and forced to migrate to new abodes. One of the more tragic developments of the twentieth century has been that the rapidity and scale of political changes such as partitions, independence, civil wars and changes of regime have resulted in large numbers of refugees, mainly in the developing areas of Asia and Africa.
Despite the vast number of refugees in the world (over 40 million, according to some estimates) there has been, until now, no systematic study of the refugee experience. Stephen Keller, in this book, integrates earlier studies of victims of natural disasters and nuclear explosions with actual accounts of Punjabi refugees from what is now Pakistan to develop a dynamic psychological model of the trauma of becoming a refugee. Through the use of extensive interviews and psychological tests he proceeds to show how 25 years after the event, the experience still affects the personalities and attitudes of the refugees. These long-term effects can help us understand much of the economic and political change that has occurred in areas of heavy refugees concentration.