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Diaspora and Transnationalism

Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods

Rainer Bauböck
Thomas Faist
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 360
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  • Book Info
    Diaspora and Transnationalism
    Book Description:

    Diaspora and transnationalism are widely used concepts in academic as well as political discourses. Although originally referring to quite different phenomena, they increasingly overlap today. Such inflation of meanings goes hand in hand with a danger of essentialising collective identities. This book therefore analyses diaspora and transnationalism as research perspectives rather than as characteristics of particular social groups. The contributions focus on conceptual uses, theoretical challenges and methodological innovations in the study of social ties that transcend nation and state boundaries. This volume brings together authors from a wide range of fields and approaches in the social sciences, as studying border-crossing affiliations also requires a crossing of disciplinary boundaries. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1266-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 7-8)
    Rainer Bauböck and Thomas Faist
  4. Chapter 1 Diaspora and transnationalism: What kind of dance partners?
    (pp. 9-34)
    Thomas Faist

    Over the past decades, the concepts of diaspora and transnationalism have served as prominent research lenses through which to view the aftermath of international migration and the shifting of state borders across populations. The research has focused on delineating the genesis and reproduction of transnational social formations, as well as the particular macro-societal contexts in which these cross-border social formations have operated, such as ‘globalisation’ and ‘multiculturalism’. Although both terms refer to cross-border processes,diasporahas been often used to denote religious or national groups living outside an (imagined) homeland, whereastransnationalismis often used both more narrowly – to...

  5. Chapter 2 Diasporas, transnational spaces and communities
    (pp. 35-50)
    Michel Bruneau

    The term ‘diaspora’, long used only to describe the dispersion of Jewish people throughout the world, has in the last 30 years elicited unprecedented interest, attracting the attention not only of the academic world but also of the media. In everyday language, the term is now applied to all forms of migration and dispersion of a people, even where no migration is involved; this corresponds not only to the development and generalisation of international migrations throughout the world, but also to a weakening, or at least a limitation, of the role played by nation-states at a time when globalisation has...

  6. Chapter 3 The dynamics of migrants’ transnational formations: Between mobility and locality
    (pp. 51-72)
    Janine Dahinden

    Since the early 1990s, studies on transnationalism have proliferated and transnationalism has become one of the fundamental ways of understanding contemporary practices taking place across national borders, especially when speaking of migrants. There are a number of ways to classify or systematise the vast body of work discussing the transnational practices or belongings of migrants (for an excellent recent overview see Levitt & Jaworsky 2007). Following Vertovec and others, one can systematise this body of knowledge as a function of dimensions or domains of transnationalism, such as the economy, politics, culture or religion (see e.g. Vertovec 1999). One can also distinguish...

  7. Chapter 4 Instrumentalising diasporas for development: International and European policy discourses
    (pp. 73-90)
    Agnieszka Weinar

    In recent years, politicians from many countries have seized upon diasporas as a migration policy actor. The recent upsurge of research evidence showing the policy relevance of the nexus between migration and development has contributed to this trend. A growing body of official documents of United Nations agencies, policy recommendations of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), World Bank studies on remittances, OECD work and research conducted by numerous academic institutes has turned the attention of policymakers to the role that migrant and ethnic communities and individual migrants play in the development of countries of origin.

    The High-Level Dialogue on...

  8. Chapter 5 Interrogating diaspora: Power and conflict in Peruvian migration
    (pp. 91-108)
    Karsten Paerregaard

    ‘Diaspora’, ‘diasporic’ and ‘diasporisation’ have become trendy terms among anthropologists, sociologists, migration scholars and advocates of multiculturalism in the past fifteen years. Among the most prominent thinkers within this trend are Gilroy (1993) and Clifford (1994b), whose influential works from the early 1990s triggered a wave of new migration studies with a focus on the transnational and diasporic dimensions of contemporary migrant populations.¹ The contention of these authors is that culture cannot be examined as a geographically confined construct but must be studied as a dispersed phenomenon, a view that leads to the argument that all people are diasporic, at...

  9. Chapter 6 A global perspective on transnational migration: Theorising migration without methodological nationalism
    (pp. 109-130)
    Nina Glick Schiller

    There is currently a large and growing body of descriptive studies of transnational migration. These studies document the many ways in which migrants and their descendants live their lives both within and across the borders of multiple nation-states. Often these studies seem curiously disconnected from both social theory and a series of powerful and contradictory narratives about migration and its consequences. In these narratives, migrants appear as destabilising or even criminal intruders into nation-states, or as coveted global talent, or as the last best hope of homelands whose development depends on migrant generated remittances. Rather than addressing these contradictions within...

  10. Chapter 7 Bridging the divide: Towards a comparative framework for understanding kin state and migrant-sending state diaspora politics
    (pp. 131-148)
    Myra A. Waterbury

    Whether by the coincidence or convergence of global events, the past two decades have seen a significant increase in the number of states engaging members of their national communities who reside outside the state’s borders. As such, there has been a concomitant explosion of academic interest in those transnational and trans-state relationships. More and more states are constructing ties to populations abroad, and those populations are making more assertive claims for recognition of their unique status as members of cultural and political communities bridging more than one sovereign state. In the post-communist world, the liberalisation of politics and the end...

  11. Chapter 8 Diasporas and international politics: Utilising the universalistic creed of liberalism for particularistic and nationalist purposes
    (pp. 149-166)
    Maria Koinova

    The growing pace of globalisation in the first decade of the twenty-first century has prompted scholars to seek a better understanding of the role of non-state actors in world politics. Transnational social movements challenge states on international issues such as global warming and global inequalities. International NGOs criticise states for disrespecting human rights and lagging on democratisation and development. Terrorist groups use violence to advance transnational ideological and religious creeds that transcend the state. Diasporas use institutions of their host state to advocate causes for their home states. All these non-state actors are relatively autonomous from the state they live...

  12. Chapter 9 Diaspora, migration and transnationalism: Insights from the study of second-generation ‘returnees’
    (pp. 167-184)
    Russell King and Anastasia Christou

    In an era of globalisation and accelerating and diversifying mobility, certain ‘new’ types of migration escape the attention of statisticians and demographers. They become ‘known’ through anecdotal evidence, qualitative research, even newspaper reports. Such is the case with the particular migratory form that we discuss in this chapter: the ‘return’ of the second generation to their parental ‘homeland’, often independent of their parents who remain in the ‘hostland’. In the United Kingdom, newspaper articles have recently picked up on this phenomenon, describing it as ‘going back to my roots’¹ or ‘home from home’.² Wajid (2006) describes the growing number of...

  13. Chapter 10 Private, public or both? On the scope and impact of transnationalism in immigrants’ everyday lives
    (pp. 185-204)
    Paolo Boccagni

    Over the last decade, research on immigrant transnationalism has shifted. It has gone from being primarily concerned with ‘transnational migrants’ – aiming to identify specific groups of people (or even communities) that somewhat qualify as transnational (e.g. Portes, Guarnizo & Landolt 1999) – to a wider focus on the transnational features in immigrants’ everyday lives. This new emphasis may shed more light on their opportunity structures and subjective experiences, as well as on any ongoing interdependence with countries of origin (Levitt & Jaworsky 2007).

    Nevertheless, the use of the term ‘transnational’ as a general theoretical category, in sociology at least, still shows...

  14. Chapter 11 Operationalising transnational migrant networks through a simultaneous matched sample methodology
    (pp. 205-226)
    Valentina Mazzucato

    Migration is a topic of great interest in both research and policy circles. On the one hand, the increasing numbers of migrants to developed countries and the xenophobic reactions in many of these countries have led to a slew of studies focusing on migrant integration in receiving-country societies. On the other hand, governments of developing countries and development organisations have become increasingly conscious of the great contribution that migrant remittances make to home country economies. This awareness has led the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international institutions to commission studies of the effects of remittances for the...

  15. Chapter 12 Transnational research collaboration: An approach to the study of co-publications between overseas Chinese scientists and their mainland colleagues
    (pp. 227-244)
    Koen Jonkers

    Over the last two decades, the mobility of students and scientists has dramatically increased worldwide. Initially a trickle, the outbound flow of Chinese students increased during the 1980s and, after a dip following restrictive measures in the wake of the Tiananmen incident, the outbound flow continued its exponential rise during the 1990s. The return rate of students and scientists to China in the 1980s and 1990s was low (Zhang & Li 2002). Many students decided to remain and work in their host system – or to move on to another. In many cases, this resulted in permanent migration and the adoption...

  16. Chapter 13 The internet as a means of studying transnationalism and diaspora
    (pp. 245-266)
    Kathrin Kissau and Uwe Hunger

    Present-day challenges in conceptualising diaspora and transnational migrant activities have proliferated different ways for defining the theoretical characteristics of a prototype group. These definitions, however, have come without means for analysing differences and commonalities in detail. The various typologies created (e.g. by Cohen 1997) have been such that most groups can be assigned to more than one type or that one group can develop from one type to another over time (e.g. the Greek diaspora in the United States transforming from one of trade into one of labour) (see Kokot 2002: 35).

    The diaspora concept itself has evolved over the...

  17. Chapter 14 Transnational links and practices of migrants’ organisations in Spain
    (pp. 267-294)
    Laura Morales and Laia Jorba

    Recent scholarship on transnationalism has focused primarily on practices of individuals, to the extent that some argue that the individual is – or should be – the proper unit of analysis (see Portes, Guarnizo & Landolt 1999). Yet, the literature is vastly populated with research on whole communities and migrant groups. In particular, a number of scholars place migrants’ organisations and organisational networks at the core of their definitions of transnationalism. For example, Faist (2000a: 189) broadly defines transnationalism as the ‘sustained ties of persons, networks and organizations across the borders across multiple nation-states, ranging from little to highly institutionalized forms’;...

  18. Chapter 15 Cold constellations and hot identities: Political theory questions about transnationalism and diaspora
    (pp. 295-322)
    Rainer Bauböck

    The initial question from which we started when inviting the contributions assembled in this book was whether the concepts of transnationalism and diaspora can still be analytically distinguished, or if they have become so overstretched and blurred that they no longer refer to distinct phenomena. If we find that the two concepts are still useful, then a second question follows: how do they relate to each other in different academic disciplines and theoretical perspectives, and can they be integrated into broader theories of boundary-crossing and boundary change? Finally, does the study of empirical phenomena that are called ‘transnational’ or ‘diasporic’...

  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 323-350)
  20. List of contributors
    (pp. 351-352)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 353-358)