Understanding Transnational Diaspora Politics: A Conceptual Discussion

thematic report one diaspora

This is the first of three CREST-funded Thematic Reports published by a team of researchers at City, University of London, and Cranfield University at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom examining political action among diaspora populations.

18-034-01 Thematic Report One (Small)
Click here to download this report.

The purpose of this report is to explore the theoretical and conceptual basis underpinning academic debates on engagement in the politics of conflict and post-conflict by communities living overseas.

The research team is interested specifically in the Sri Lankan civil conflict between 1983 and 2009 and its aftermath, and understanding the attitudes towards and involvement in that conflict on the part of Tamil diaspora communities.

The CREST project; ‘From the Diasporisation to the Transnationalisation of Exile Politics – The Case of Sri Lanka, 1983-2016’ explored diaspora communities’ relationship with the changing socio-political environment in the homeland and how this influences processes of radicalisation or moderation.

It recognises that the socio-political circumstances in which these processes develop are often crucial towards understanding why a community or individuals within that community abroad act in a certain way; this includes analysis of different scales and levels of engagement, both in home countries and in host countries, as well as different ‘areas’ of engagement, which can range from social to economic to political interactions.

The following report is not specific to the Sri Lankan situation; it is rather concerned with how four concepts, diaspora, transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, and translocalism, have come to frame the academic discussion of diaspora or more broadly overseas politics and the potential of the concepts to shed light on the relationship between mobility and political action.

It considers the extent to which these concepts are helpful in identifying the rationale behind specific methods of political participation offering critical reflections on the analytical and normative usefulness of these terms.

Research Team: Christopher McDowell, Valentina Aronica, Gemma Collantes-Celador, and Natasha De Silva. You can also read more about the project here.

Read, download and share Understanding Transnational Diaspora Politics: A Conceptual Discussion, for free here: 18-034 Thematic Report One

You can find the other thematic reports from this CREST project here.

Thematic Report Two | The Engagement of Refugees in Transnational Politics: Lessons from the Migration, Diaspora and Refugee Studies Literature complements the previous report’s broad conceptual discussion by specifically focusing on an analysis of the context and drivers of political action among diaspora and refugee populations, and engaging with the term ‘refugee politics’.

Thematic Report Three | Asylum, Security and Extremism analyses the growing ‘securitisation’ of refugees and other forcibly displaced populations and calls for greater consideration of structural vulnerabilities in the forced migration and displacement cycle that increase the risk of radicalisation, extremism and related political behaviours.

As part of CREST’s commitment to open access research this guide is available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence. For more details on how you can use our content see here.