The political geographies of diaspora strategies: Rethinking the ‘sending state’

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Abstract

Diaspora strategies have been at the forefront of new studies of the political geographies of state-led transnationalism, contributing important insights into the widespread socio-economic impacts of initiatives used to engage émigrés in extra-territorial nation-building. The conceptualization of the ‘sending state’ as a central territorialized bureaucratic form has however contributed to binary framings of diasporic space by failing to capture the range of interplays in and between multiple scales and spaces that characterises the formulation of a states’ diaspora strategies, their evolution over time, and their variegated material outcomes. Alternative conceptualizations of the ‘sending state’ as a multi-sited network of governing entities disrupts binary readings of diaspora space, but it is argued here that such an approach reproduces top-down views of political agency. The review concludes by suggesting that scholars of diaspora strategies would benefit from exploring assemblage thinking, where a sustained engagement with spatial emergence and distributed socio-material agencies has the potential to reveal the dynamic topological connections through which diasporic spatio-political formations emerge, endure and may be unsettled. This has implications for understanding the variegated outcomes of diaspora strategies for individual diasporic subjectivities and ideas of common citizenship.

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