Date of Defense



Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Steven Benfell

Second Advisor

Dr. Ashlyn Kuersten

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Kostrzewa


In recent decades, the Tibetan region has received increased attention in the international community due to the area's struggle under Chinese control. Media attention has mainly focused on "the big picture", looking at major figures and political developments related to Tibet. As a result, the Dalai Lama, Chinese leaders, and international organizations have remained at the forefront of related discussion and study. These individuals and organizations undoubtedly impact events in this region. While looking at "the big picture", however, much is left out about the everyday struggles of the people living in Tibet. The study of Tibetan politics thus far has "missed the trees for the forest"; for it is these individual struggles which give a deeper understanding of the political reality that exists in the region. Individuals in Tibet cannot exercise the vast powers of the authority figures that have received so much attention. Instead, they rely on what political scientist James C. Scott has termed the "weapons of the weak."

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only