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Mobilization Mechanisms Behind India’s Yoga Diplomacy: Organization, Identity and Ritual

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DOI: 10.23977/ICEIPI2020014


Song Tang

Corresponding Author

Song Tang


The International Yoga Day, a grand transnational cultural festival launched by the Modi government in 2014, is a representative and typical case of contemporary India’s cultural diplomacy. Till 2020, it has achieved huge success across the world, especially in countries like the US where the number of yoga practitioners boosted along with the International Yoga Day. Identifying yoga diplomacy as a form of mobilization, this paper investigates the specific mechanism behind its success from three aspects: organization, identity and ritual. The study presents that, first, regular participation in organizational activities and the influence of core members in the organization can mobilize the foreign yogis. Second, through constructing yoga as a symbol of Indian cultural product, the Indian government and Hindu organizations abroad are able to build a collective identity among the diaspora. Third, the Yoga Day celebration usually takes the form of large-scale gathering and vivid live shows, and according to the ‘collective effervescence’ theory, these are likely to generate the shared emotions among the participants and thus mobilize them. In addition, this paper also discusses the obstacles faced by India’s yoga diplomacy and provides inspirations for cultural diplomatic studies and practice in the future.


Yoga diplomacy, India, cultural diplomacy, mobilization mechanisms

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