New publication sheds light on the tensions and conflicts in transnational relations
DIIS researchers contribute to special issue of Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
The special issue ‘Diasporic Tensions: The Dilemmas and Conflicts of Transnational Engagement’ explores the inherent contradictions and tensions of transnational engagement and how these are played out at different levels in a number of social fields based on gender, class, ethnicity, etc.
The issue is the result of a workshop in the Diaspora, Development and Conflict research programme.
Transnational migration and diasporic communities contain an inherent spatial tension, as populations no longer ‘fit’ their territory – belonging to several places at once. Their commitment, longing and allegiance might be to another place than the place where they live, work and claim citizen rights. At the same time, many of these people who defy borders are severely restricted with respect to other types of mobility - whether it be the right to travel or the options for upward social mobility - creating another tension between mobility and immobility. Finally, diasporic ideologies tend to ‘fix’ and create new boundaries leading to fundamental tensions at various levels, as struggles emerge over the right to draw new boundaries and to define and ‘fix’ transnational communities. Tensions arise in the competition to define the community and in struggles over who has the right to claim to represent ‘the diaspora’.
The articles in this issue are about the ways in which these tensions are fought out and resolved in the creation of diaspora communities and transnational identities.
Simon Turner (Guest-Editor), examines how members of the Burundian diaspora are involved in creating or easing ethnic tensions in their home country in the article ‘Cyberwars of Words: Expressing the Unspeakable in Burundi´s Diaspora’. The article argues that the ideology of democracy and human rights depends on an exclusion of certain opinions - and that diasporic cyberspace may function as a repository for such surplus opinion where the unspeakable may be aired.
Peter Hansen, explores ongoing return migration within a gendered perspective. In his article ‘Circumcising Migration: Gendering Return Migration among Somalilanders’. Hansen argues that return migration from Western countries can be seen as a way of recreating lost images of masculinity and femininity.
Nauja Kleist, contributes with the article ‘In the Name of Diaspora: Between Struggles for Recognition and Political Aspirations’. Kleist analyses Somali diaspora mobilisation by exploring who speaks in the name of diaspora – and what does it imply? Kleist analyses different tendencies that together form favourable conditions of possibility for diaspora identification, drawing on two repertoires of rights and political action which can be used in different instances of political mobilisation.
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol 34, No 7, Sept 2008