Four Types of Diaspora Mobilization: Albanian Diaspora Activism For Kosovo Independence in the US and the UK


  • Author's Note: I acknowledge the support for this research the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, a SSRC-ESRC fellowship to collaborate with Fiona Adamson, and the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. I thank many diaspora activists who remain anonymous. Beitullah Destani, Christianne Wohlforth, Daut Dauti, Deborah West, James Pettiffer, Jennifer Erickson, Miranda Vickers, Susan Lynch, participants in the 2009 LSE Workshop “Diasporas and Activism in Europe,” and at the annual APSA meeting in 2011, as well as two anonymous reviewers who provided helpful comments or contacts for this research.

  • The copyright line for this article was changed on 28 July 2015 after original online publication.

  • 1Current affiliation: University of Warwick


This comparative study explores the conditions and causal pathways through which conflict-generated diasporas become moderate or radical actors when linked to homelands experiencing limited sovereignty. Situated at the nexus of scholarship on diasporas and conflict, ethnic lobbying in foreign policy, and transnationalism this article develops four types of diaspora political mobilization—radical (strong and weak) and moderate (strong and weak)—and unpacks the causal pathways that lead to these four types in different political contexts. I argue that dynamics in the original homeland drive the overall trend towards radicalism or moderation of diaspora mobilization in a host-land: high levels of violence are associated with radicalism, and low levels with moderation. Nevertheless, how diaspora mobilization takes place is a result of the conjuncture of the level of violence with another variable, the linkages of the main secessionist elites to the diaspora. The article uses observations from eight cases of Albanian diaspora mobilization in the US and the UK from 1989 until the proclamation of Kosovo's independence in 2008.