Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad

Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad

Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad

Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad

Synopsis

This book is intended to fill in a gap in the study of modern ethno-national diasporas. Thus, against the background of current trends - globalization, democratization, the weakening of the nation-state and massive transstate migration, it examines the politics of historical, modern and incipient ethno-national diasporas. It argues that unlike the widely accepted view, ethno-national diasporism and diasporas do not constitute a recent phenomenon. Rather, this is a perennial phenomenon whose roots were in antiquity. Some of the existing diasporas were created in antiquity, some during the Middle Ages and some are modern. An essential aspect of this phenomenon is the endless cultural-social-economic and especially political struggle of these dispersed ethnic groups that permanently reside in host countries away from their homelands to maintain their distinctive identities and connections with their homelands and other dispersed groups of the same nation. While describing and analyzing the diaspora phenomenon, the book sheds light on theoretical questions pertaining to current ethnicity and politics.

Excerpt

The highly motivated Koreans and Vietnamese toiling hard to become prosperous in bustling Los Angeles, the haggard Palestinians living in dreary refugee camps near Beirut and Amman, the beleaguered Turks dwelling in cramped apartments in Berlin, and the frustrated Russians in Estonia all have much in common. All of them, along with Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, African-Americans, Jews, Palestinians, Greeks, Gypsies, Romanians, Poles, Kurds, Armenians, and numerous other groups permanently residing outside of their countries of origin, but maintaining contacts with people back in their old homelands, are members of ethno-national diasporas.

Until the late twentieth century, wherever possible, and particularly when physical appearance, basic mores, innate habits, and linguistic proficiency permitted, many members of such groups tried hard to conceal their ethno-national origins. Furthermore, they were inclined to minimize the importance of their contacts with their countries of origin (usually, and hereafter, termed homelands), and they did not publicize their membership in organizations serving their groups and their homelands. Such patterns of behavior were related to a desire prevalent among members of such groups to assimilate, acculturate, or at least integrate into their countries of settlement (usually, and hereafter, referred to as host countries).

In tandem, whether deliberately or by default, both democratic and non-democratic host societies and governments largely ignored most of these ethno-national diaspora groups. In certain cases, such societies and governments questioned the endurance capability of diasporas in general, as well as that of the diaspora groups residing in the states that those . . .

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