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Diasporas and States in World Politics (PO9E5)

Do you want to learn more about a novel topic in International Relations? Do you want to know more about how diasporas – migrants and their descendants – mobilize in one part of the globe to affect political and social processes in another?

We encounter diasporas every day in multicultural societies, but we know little about how their transnational connections impact on people, states, and regimes in other parts of the globe. It is of central concern to this module to study the relationships between diasporas and states, and the challenges to state sovereignty associated with this relationship. Anchored in International Relations as a discipline, yet offering insights from International Political Sociology, International Development, and Conflict Studies, this module brings a truly interdisciplinary perspective that forms the forefront of an emerging scholarly field. Throughout the term we start by studying how diasporas are formed from international migration, their different types, agency and ways to engage with original homelands.

We also look into how the state sovereignty of their original homelands shapes the ways in which diasporas are prone to mobilize: weak and fragile states such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Somalia and many others which have economic problems, weak institutions, border disputes and internal conflict engage diasporas differently than strong states, such as the UK, Germany or the United States. We seek to understand the political impact of diaspora remittances that forms around 18% of the GDP per capita, in countries such as Armenia or Tajikistan. Do remittances help democratization or prevent it? How do diasporas engage with democratization and with autocratic regimes? Are diasporas conflict actors or peace-makers? If you want to know the answers to such questions, this module is definitely for you!

The module seeks to enable students to:

  • Understand the political ramifications of diasporas’ long-distance engagement through sending remittances, and participating in economic development, democratization, authoritarian practices, conflict and post-conflict processes in states considered original homelands
  • Enhance their analytical capacities by assessing new theories associated with realist, constructivist and governance streams of thought
  • Learn about causal mechanisms and processes of diaspora mobilizations
  • Learn about diaspora activities in different world regions
  • Develop their own arguments in systematic and creative ways
  • Devise practical solutions to political dilemmas emerging from diaspora engagement in world politics.

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Module Director:
Dr. Maria Koinova