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DIASPORA AND SOVEREIGNTY: THREE CASES OF PUBLIC ALARM IN THE NETHERLANDS

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ABSTRACT

Studies in transnationalism raise the expectation that new forms of ‘flexible citizenship’ will attune the frozen world of territorial sovereignties and citizenship to the reality of global migration and borderless business. In the Netherlands, however, the focus of the integration debate has recently shifted to an affirmation of sovereignty. Three cases in which ethnic minorities in the Netherlands were exposed to (possible) action from their homelands (Turkey and Morocco) elicited political discussion in which dual citizenship and transnational political influence were rejected. We conclude that a changed policy of homeland governments (diaspora engagement) is not the most likely explanation of the public excitement. The new sovereignty discourse fits into a neo-nationalist trend but may also be explained as a way to contain the unpredictable effects of the sustained multiculturalism underlying Dutch policy toward migrant communities.

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